It's a soap. No way around that. But what the gathering at Perky's place last week proved is that many believe it's a soap with ramifications beyond this single abode.
While the neighborhood is by no means unanimous as to the city leaving the former minister and self-taught artist's home untumbled (prostitutes, they decry. In front of the children no less), the majority I've met in the area believe:
1. Dangerous Structures (*which, by the way, is the issue pending in court — not the presence of hookers, etc.) should give Rev. Seymour Perkins time to clean up his lot. If the issue is poverty, assistance, not demolition, is in order.
2. Drugs and prostitutes are epidemic across this District 2 neighborhood of Denver Heights. (If we trash one house, we might as well start leveling across town.)
The pro-bono team of Albert McKnight and Eddie Bravenec have filed a request for a new trial, which, if accepted by the court, may get the structure at S. Hackberry and Nevada through the meanest months of summer.
And if Perkins and Co. can raise another $3,500, they can finish the almost-restored electric and get new cement blocks and beams under the house.
Charlene and Tracy both tell me of the ways that Perkins has helped them. One still stays with the foci of controversy. The other has long since moved to a place of her own in another part of town.
"I know for a fact he's helped me," Charlene says. "He's helped me in a very spiritual way."
"The effort they're making," chimes in Tracy about the day's gathering, "can be positive if the community stays together."
That may be a tad trickier. Like I say, there have been political pressures exerted to get rid of Perky.