“I wanna go home
I wanna go home
Ohh how I wanna go home”
Detroit City, written by Mel Tillis and sung by Bobby Bare, is one of my favorite oldies. Actually, all my favorites are oldies. Like the father of one of my first grade classmates, this lament came from a good old Southern boy who went to Detroit to make his way in the auto industry. The one in the song put up a brave front in his letters home:
“Homefolks think I’m big in Detroit City”
“By day I make the cars;
by night I make the bars.
If they could only read between the lines.”
This, plus Motown, has been my image of Detroit for years. I had never been there until today, where I’m writing this from, in the airport with a 4-hour layover on the way to Shanghai. Who would have thought that the road from Dallas to Shanghai went through Detroit. The fight was a third empty, which is the first non-full flight I’ve had in a long time. It was on Delta, and the full ones were on American, which has filed for bankruptcy. Go figure.
Delta’s terminal at the airport is brand spanking new and clean and virtually empty. I asked a couple of Delta employees if that was due to a bad economy, and they assured me it wasn’t. They said it was partly because school started last week. Well, they started in the DFW area without similar results. Maybe the general health of the economies in Dallas versus Detroit had a little to do with it, and maybe the composition of the labor force had something to do with it. Maybe the workers in Detroit are working and those in Dallas-Fort Worth are working in a different way, by flitting all over the country.
I don’t know the answer, but I do know I wanna go home–or even to Shanghai.