Awesome trip memory.
I'm a pretty big Elvis fan - I sort of worked backwards to get here. When
I was younger I had a crush on a rockabilly boy; when I had a crush back in
the day, I would commit myself, rather pathetically, to learning everything about the
individuals' likes and dislikes (stalker, right? - shut up, it's endearing when you are 14) Anyhoooo, originally entrenched in punk music at the time, this rockabilly boy opened my world to the world of, well, rockabilly music. Starting with 80's rockabilly, I worked my way back, and after few years, long after the crush was over, I made my way to the King. He is one of the only singers who gives me goosebumps, makes me cry and tap my toes, and this is just after listening to one side of an album (oh yeah, we're talking vinyl here).
Anyhooooo, in 2001 Jo and I went on a trip to New Orleans, and thought it
would be fun to rent a car and take a little road trip to Memphis. I was
pregnant at the time, and the allure of flashing my boobies in the French
Quarter was non-existent. So, on an impulse, we packed up and hit the road (heh heh, Jo might have wanted to stick around with those boobs everywhere). It became obvious we were heading in the right direction as the closer we got, the more garish the ads for Elvis Everything became. We decided to hit Graceland at night and see what it looked like lit up in the late evening. What we did not know was that it was the 25th anniversary of his death. As we approached Graceland, we saw literally thousands of white, tinkly lights. As we got closer, we realized that there was a candlelight vigil going on in honour of him. There were thousands upon thousands of people, snaking their way to Graceland, to pay homage to the King. There were babies and toddlers with grease in their hair, slicked back into pompadours. There were impersonators gallore, whole families gathered together and many a fan had glistening, tear streaked cheeks. I remember at one point I laughed out loud, pretty much out of the shock of what I was witnessing. I wasn't laughing out of disrespect, but rather it was a reaction to something I just never, ever dreamed of bearing witness too. Close to me, a man was quite agitated by my laugh, and told me to have a little respect. He looked a combination of mad and sad. We spent the next couple of quiet hours there, lining up with everyone else in the dark, staring up at the former home of Elvis Presley, flooded with light.
I remember feeling very deeply, not one feeling in particular, but an overwhelming crush of emotions. I remember rubbing my fluttery belly, my first daughter trying out her legs in utero, thinking about the story I would tell her, what she was kind of present for. Of course that little gal's name is Grace, and yes, she knows the story, I have oft repeated it to her, and as the years go by, I feel like she is putting more and more importance to the story. She complains about a lot of my music, but never about Elvis, and for a recent school project she had to create an imaginary country, which she called Las Gracie. The national anthem of this little
town is Viva Las Gracie. If she doesn't get a good grade on this project I will kick her teacher's ass whilst blasting Hound Dog through the school speakers (note to self, that would be a great scene for the movie-script in my head. Yes, there is a movie about my life in my head, shut-up).
Just a neat little memory I thought I would share - you like?