Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Amazing Graceland

"Look at that boy; he's so cute- isn't he cute? He is just the cutest thang. He was here last night in that pink Cadillac. Oh, my God, look at that hair. It's just the cutest. Ya' know, you can tell- he's a fan, he is a true fan; yes, he is."

The lavender haired lady in front of Mrs. Hall gushed. Joining the throngs of pilgrims on their way to that musical mecca, Graceland, the Halls mingled with young and old, black and white; various citizens from around the globe. Apparently, not only does Elvis belong to the ages, he belongs to us all. A young man in a lemon colored jacket was greeting people at the door of the second most visited home in the United States (only the White House sees more.)
Even though the price of admission included an audio tour with headphones, there were guides along the way to hopefully answer all inquiries. There wasn't too much talking- the Halls have been in venues where the crowd was rudely making more noise than the presentation, but the visitors to Graceland maintained a reverential muteness befitting their tribute. The front rooms were obviously just that; meant to be up front and seen as the face of the home to strangers; but the inhabitants of Graceland had a hipper, more fun side, and that was the side most folks came to see. They wanted to see that Elvis, deep down, owner of countless rhinestone jumpsuits, holder of 30 #1 hits (an unbelievable number) and undisputed King of Rock and/or Roll, was just a good ole' boy at heart. They were not disappointed. Stoically clinging to the 70s era when he passed, the home remains locked in a time warp; preserving forever its look of middle-class-family-wins-the-lottery mentality. Two whole outside buildings are devoted entirely to his awards, gold and platinum records and trademark over the top show costumes. Elvis has so long been ubiquitous within the music scene in this country and been parodied so much, that sometimes it's hard to remember how impressive his accomplishments were.
As the bus rolled back out through the famous gates, they noted how large the crowds were becoming. "We got here just in time- the lines are three or four times what they were when we first arrived," mentioned Mr. Hall. Mrs. Hall was busy picking out a boomerang ashtray with Elvis' signature in gold lettering. "It's so cool- and it's got little feet!" Mr. Hall remarked that it's always nice when you can take something meaningful away from such an experience. "That's why travel is so broadening." replied Mrs. H.
Broadening travel was just what they encountered next. After saying a fond farewell to Memphis, they were traveling the high roads on their way to Jonesboro, AR when they came up behind a wide body modular, huffing and puffing its way up and down the foothills. "He seems to be taking up a bit more than his share of the road," observed Mr. Hall. As the traveling homestead crested the hill, another motorist made almost the exact same observation, at the same time. Mrs Hall happened to be filming the little bungalow's bumpy ride just in time to record the other driver's startled but stealthy response. Next episode: Show me Missouri! Stay tuned!

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