Me ‘n’ Elvis

This past summer I had an opportunity to do something I’ve always wanted to do, drive through the deep South.  And when I say deep, I mean DEEP.  I left Chicago, headed down to a first communion in Bloomington, Indiana and the adventure began from there.  Passing through Kentucky and Tennesee-where Jesus seems to own a lot of billboards-I spent a few days in Atlanta at my sister’s.  The ancient Model T I drive, really a 13 year old GEO and I’m proud of her-what’s your point?, was given the once over by a very trusted mechanic, and off we went to Mobile where I had a lovely time with some former clients of mine.  From there we skirted along the bottom of the country, and it really felt like I was at the very bottom before crossing a miles long bridge into New Orleans.  I found the Big Easy to be a lovely city, especially the people and in spite of the unbelievable June heat, I really enjoyed my stay and look forward to my next visit.  Before long I turned the little green machine’s nose to the north and we visited charming Natchez, Mississippi with all of her pre-Civil War antebellum mansions, bustling Jackson, Oxford home of Ole Miss and the most charming town square there ever was, and Memphis.  Of course I had to visit Graceland, after all, I remember where I was when I heard Elvis had died.  I was at band camp.  I just love saying that!  One time, at band camp…

Graceland was fascinating, not in the expected way.  It’s a nice suburban home on 10 acres accessed by a really busy commercial road stuck in a bad decorating 70’s time warp.  The interesting part came when I was waiting for the bus to take me back across the street to the strip mall/museum/gift shop(s)/airplane hanger/garage.  The cute little girl working the line was answering some of my many questions when she volunteered that there were people who came to the mansion over and over, sometimes on the same day, sometimes as part of a year long pass, sometimes to just sit in the same house where he lived.  I was floored-repeat visits?!  Not long after I returned home, Michael Jackson died and the coverage on the media was exhaustive to say the least.  I was sad for his family and children and mourned the passing of part of my youth but otherwise wasn’t really touched all that much by his death.  The proximity of these 2 events got me thinking about the lack of tent-pole icons in my life.  I questioned whether there was something missing that I didn’t have that presence.  I think because I was so close to my family and really had all my emotional, spiritual and physical needs met, I didn’t have to fill any void with someone or something I’d never met.  That made me feel really lucky.  And blessed.

My laptop died in Memphis, just like Elvis did.  It was time to get home.