What has Detroit done to anger the gods so?
What have we done that is causing us to lose so many icons, so quickly? It's like we're being smited.
This has been going on for a couple years now. Most of them were from the world of sports.
Mark "The Bird" Fidrych, killed in a tragic accident at his home, involving his truck.
Chuck Daly, the greatest of all the Pistons coaches, succumbing to cancer.
George Kell and Ernie Harwell, Tigers announcers and welcome in our homes anytime.
George "Sparky" Anderson, the curiously funny little manager.
Now we may be losing truly one of our own---Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul.
Reports are that Franklin, 68, has pancreatic cancer. After that, who knows---but these things have a way of ending badly.
When the news came that the always well-coiffed Daly and the beloved Harwell had cancer, we all went into pre-death mode, bracing ourselves. Both men probably lasted longer than we had hoped.
Sparky's demise was swift, a surprise attack that left us stunned and scrambling emotionally.
There's nothing real concrete on Aretha, other than she's sick, with something. No official word has been delivered as to her condition.
She could have years to live, or weeks. We really don't know.
Unlike the aforementioned men, who became famous in Detroit, Aretha was raised here, her family moving to the city when she was just six years old.
There haven't been very many entertainers who scream Detroit like Aretha Franklin.
Today you have Kid Rock, who's as proud of a Detroiter as it gets. Others have Detroit roots, but they don't exactly wear it on their sleeve. Some have even made sure to keep their ties to Detroit suppressed, like a dirty family secret.
But not Aretha.
Whether she was performing in New York or Atlanta or Los Angeles, when she opened her mouth and belted out that voice that was among the most distinctively famous of her time, we all knew.
That was Detroit, singin' to ya.
She stayed here and didn't move away. She didn't turn her back on the city. She wasn't lured to the East or West coasts, to live among the glamorous set.
She got married in Detroit in 1978, her father performing the ceremony. Yeah, the newlyweds lived in California for a few years, but by 1982 she was back in Detroit to stay.
Aretha may never perform again. It's worse than that---it's highly unlikely that she ever will. She's likely too sick, already, to deliver her booming voice.
Some reports give her no more than a year to live.
Our Detroit icons are being taken away---too many, too rapidly.
No one lives forever but geez, Aretha is only 68.
Long live the Queen.