Elvis Presley. Icon Extraordinaire.
Rudy's move to Arkansas has allowed us to explore parts of the US that we may have never ventured to. As ideas have spun around inside my head, milling themselves within my I've got an idea section, visiting Graceland was not a place I thought about, yet.
I think Elvis must have been one cool dude, and his gyrating hips are fun to watch; he was very handsome in his younger days, and the few movies I have watched, that he starred in, were entertaining. Admittedly, though, I have never been a die-hard fan. I've never cried or fainted at the sight of him. Yet, he's always been a person of interest, someone who made a name for himself, someone who reminds you that anything is possible. Anything. Even a reminder that you can lose it all.
When it was confirmed that Brad and I were going to spend our summer in Arkansas I immediately looked at a map to see what trips we could take, to make the most of our stay."Graceland is a 5 1/2 hour drive away. Let's do it. Let's visit the KING!" There you have it. The beginning of our adopting Elvis into our lives.
We left the duplex at 5am, arriving in Memphis, Tennessee at, or around, 10:30am. A small crowd of people were beginning to wander in from the parking lot, walking along; and like us, they were complaining about the heat, yet curious about what lay ahead.
Tickets purchased. An hour wait for the shuttle ride to Graceland.
To fill the time, we took a stroll, admiring his many cars. "I will take this one!" I said, pointing to a two-door white Mercedes; Brad wished he could sit behind the wheel of Elvis' Ferrari. And Rudy? Well, Rudy wanted his picture taken with the oh-so-famous PINK CADILLAC!
I never thought about it, but it makes sense - Elvis had a large private jet, and a smaller plane - named Lisa-Marie.
Well, of course he needed to travel without all the screaming fans aboard! What a distraction that would have been!
We had to see these of course, so back out into the heat we walked. From the outside the jets look typical; standard flying machines. Inside the bigger of the two airliners, Elvis choose dark colors of - velour, I think, and overweight cocoa brown leather coverings for his sitting areas. So different from what I've seen on current TV shows, people sitting in their sleek leather-upholstered, luxury jets. The Lisa-Marie's height is low, people needed to stoop when walking the aisle. Interesting. I'm pretty sure small jets, now, are made for passengers to walk upright. Yes, no..... maybe so?
"It's time, Mom and Dad! Time to go to Elvis' house!" Brad claimed. The shuttle ride took only a few minutes, as Graceland is simply across the street. Time warp! As I walked around his residence I wondered that if Elvis were alive today, would his home have been renovated, updated? The mansion is surprisingly quaint, and has a definite homey feel to it - aside from the fact that all the tourists basically walked in a line throughout the mansion - except for upstairs; that continues to be, respectfully, private for Elvis.
As I am listening to the voices of Lisa-Marie and Priscilla, on the audio device fashionably slung around my neck, talk about living at Graceland it seems that many, many happy memories occurred here. I wondered if they ever go to Graceland, close the doors to the public, and just sit there and remember. While everyone seemed amazed, impressed, in-awe-of all the fascinating memorabilia on display throughout the house and the outside grounds, I am heartfelt when I see the rickety, old-style metal swing set. "Lisa-Marie played here," I told myself. I just stared at it for a while, feeling happy that she was just an ordinary child, playing on an ordinary playset. The amount of land surrounding Graceland is impressive; so is the fact that the mansion sits in the middle of a typical neighborhood.
As we were leaving, we stopped by the gift shop and each of us chose a t-shirt in memory of Mr. Elvis Presley, The King of Rock. I am a fan, but I am a fan of the humble human being he seemed to be. Humble in the midst of exciting chaos.