While it is true that I am delighted to be back in the vicinity of my spiritual home and have been, for the most part, enjoying seeing the latest incarnation of the community generally, I wonder if I can’t do more to facilitate the changes and challenges that we are all going through. From my perspective, things are likely going to get very strange, very soon. And since this is far beyond any one person, including myself, I think it might be an opportunity for us to make another effort to work together. You and I. Us.
It’s been nearly 20 years since I was last here, and I wish that I had not been away for so long. I also recognize that there are some people who might wish that I had stayed away. That’s not an unexpected reality. Having said that, I do think that I could have composed myself differently back then, but at the same time, it opened up my eyes to a much deeper understanding of the human condition and our particularly odd habits. An understanding that, at this point, seems all the more relevant than it might have been even then to me and maybe a handful of other people. An understanding that might actually prove to be useful in this extreme social crisis that we are seemingly headed toward.
Now, as of this writing, my 50th birthday is just days away. So the likelihood that anyone, anywhere, is going to be seeing me in any thong is essentially nonexistent. Take a deep breath. Having said that, I think I hold my own for a 50-year-old man. In fact, I placed 11th in a local 5K, which I thought wasn’t bad. Although in fairness, I owe my success to the fact that my training partner is my dog, who needs to be run at least three times a week. So, I have to train myself to get to his level of athleticism.
So, as of this moment in time, I am existing in the periphery of the Asheville community. Where I actually live isn’t a huge concern for me personally, as I enjoy living in the country with my two amazing canine companions. Unless of course, should I choose to run for office again, where I live would become important. Which brings up my request of the wider Asheville community. Is there a particular community that might consider having me relocate there, for the mutual benefit that could be made in the future? I am well aware of the fact that Asheville is made up of myriad various communities, and I don’t want to struggle to find the one that would be the most receptive to a “known character” such as I have been labeled, among other things.
Of course, running for office is hardly the only tool in the tool bag, as we all know. I have a number of years that I worked in radio and television broadcasting while I was away in California. Maybe there is a local broadcasting station that would be willing to consider bringing me on board? Maybe I should ask if the people of Asheville want to have an opportunity to hear what I might have to say? After being silent for 20 years, it might be a good have a conversation again.
Currently, I have been busking from one side of the country to another, and thoroughly enjoy singing and playing guitar. You probably don’t recognize me when I play downtown, and you won’t know if I keep moving along, either. We could be like two ships passing in the night, or we could figure out a way of working on solving the problems that exist all around us.
Personally, I have a difficult time with thinking that I could do more “if only” I could plug back into this community in particular. It’s almost as if I can’t fully be me unless I am immersed in the presence of you. I think that’s actually quite empowering. Together, we could do so much more than we could do without one another. There you have it: An old man’s humble request for your opinion. Should I stay or should I move on? I am looking forward to hearing from you either way. Stay healthy.
— Ukiah Morrison
Editor’s note: For a look back at Xpress’ 2013 coverage of Morrison that touches on his 1999 Asheville City Council candidacy, see “I Don’t Sport the Thong Anymore” (avl.mx/c7l). A Rolling Stone article featuring Morrison and dubbing Asheville the “New Freak Capital of the U.S.” can be found at avl.mx/c7m.