Amid all the grandeur that is the Super Bowl experience in Indianapolis came the sad news this morning that Don Cornelius has died, maybe of a suicide. So what does Cornelius, creator of “Soul Train” have to do with football, the Indianapolis Colts, and the Super Bowl. Not much, on the surface. But when I dig under the hood of my childhood memories, to a time when Indianapolis really was a sleepy little corn-fed city that aptly lived up to its “Naptown” moniker, the wiring inevitably leads me to Cornelius and others like him. Back then, there wasn’t much to do in Indianapolis or central Indiana, even on the weekends, especially for kids. So that meant staying at home most Saturday afternoons, cuddled up to the beloved television set. Of course, there wasn’t really much on TV during those hours, either.
But, at some point during the festivities, “Soul Train” would always make its way to the dance floor, and the mood would change for awhile. The show was kinda gloomy and the film was gritty, but there was a whole lot of cool music pumping out from the monotone speaker. And there was a whole lot of dancing going on, both on the screen and in our living room.
Within a few years, the Colts arrived and the landscape of Indianapolis began changing, mostly for the better. But, even now, if I have a bored moment or two on a rainy Saturday afternoon, I think about “Soul Train” and how it wasn’t such a bad diversion lo, those many years ago.
RIP, Mr. Cornelius.