The year was 1999. I was just seven years old, and the world was my oyster; or so I’m told. Maturity hasn’t been helpful in decoding that saying. It was early, and I was awake. But oddly enough, that was ok, because that day was going to be special. A day to be remembered in the annals of childhood experience. A day where imagination was my text book. That’s right people; I’m talkin ’bout field trip day.
As per my usual habits, I had neglected to ask any questions about the day or come at all prepared. Turns out, it was a choir field trip, which was good news to me. Choir day meant we ate fast food, and not those peasant sack lunches. Not necessarily pertinent to this story, but a definitive milestone in my life nonetheless is the fact that I enjoyed my first Chic-fil-a sandwich that day. Hold the pickles. So I boarded the bloated yellow caravan to my musical destination. The usual trip activities transpired. Paper throwing. Book reading. Singing. Underground Pokémon tournaments. (Pokémon was strictly forbade at my school.) Then, “Whoa, look!” I was seven years old, so look wasn’t as much a suggestion as it was a command, and my adolescent head rose automatically and stared out in the direction the looker had indicated. Glittering shapes danced before me like fire. Presumably buildings, their silhouette had been blurred by the radiance of the sun. What the heck was this place? So I asked. “Mrs. Adams, what is,” hand pointed out “that?”
“That’s Jackson you little dummy. Why don’t you ever read the handouts?” Oh. So this was Jacks– wait a minute. Jackson? That place on the news where people went to get shot and/or robbed. This was that? And thus two important thoughts arose in my mind. “What if the tv doesn’t always tell the whole truth?”, and “Maybe there’s more to this Jackson thing than most folk know about.” As the day progressed, and then days after that, my second thought was affirmed. I had seen the place, walked the downtown streets. Met the people. And for the first time in my life, I knew something my parents didn’t. – Jackson was cool.
It’s been a while since my more formative years, and I have come to understand the apprehensions expressed by non Jacksonians about the city. It does have its fair share of problems. But you should know, this city hasn’t fallen to hell. In fact it’s on the rise, with plenty to do and plenty of great people to enjoy. Art. Food. Entertainment. All here. So I challenge you, reader, if you haven’t in a while, come check out the city. It’s better than you remember it.
Written by Joey
Jackson: photographs by Ken Murphy is available now for purchase. To order a copy, call Lemuria Books at 601.366.7619 or visit us online at lemuriabooks.com.