I have been in Nashville for 3 days, as my husband had surgery Wednesday at Centennial Medical Center. (That's another story.) We watched almost no TV during that time. When you have been married almost 50 years to a man who loves TV and he doesn't watch it when it is available, you know he is sick or in pain. That was the case this week. For that reason, I missed a big event in Tennessee. August 16 was the 30th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. I didn't get to see any of the news coverage of the many fans and mourners who make the annual pilgrimage to Graceland, and, yes, I know where I was that day.
I love Elvis! I'm still upset that I now have a car that came with XM Satellite Radio instead of Sirius, which I had bought as an add-on for a previous car. I had bought Sirius originally because it came with the Elvis channel.
Elvis came into prominence in the 1950s. I graduated from high school in 1957. My boyfriend at the time (soon he become my husband) was 2 months younger than Elvis. At first I saw all of Elvis' movies, but it was his music I loved. I never saw him perform. My sister and I ordered tickets when he came to Nashville, but we only asked for the most expensive. We didn't think to say we would take any seat in the house. We had our money returned. However, I did get to see him when he came to the State Capitol in 1961. I even typed the letter from a state senator in Memphis to Colonel Parker inviting Elvis to come and accept an award from the State Legislature. The day Elvis was at the Capitol I was fortunate enough to sit in one of the chairs on the floor of the House Chamber. He apologized because he could not sing that day. It was in his contract. He did speak a few minutes. I remember Governor Ellington's daughter Ann was with him. They had lunch in the Governor's conference room. They could have whisked him out the back door to the waiting car when they were ready to leave. Instead, they brought him out into the main hall and then out the east door of the building. Tennessee state troopers were lined up side by side -- almost touching -- to provide an aisle for them to walk through. A friend and I stood just behind the troopers. That was my Elvis sighting.
Almost 3 years ago I was ready to celebrate my 65th birthday and decided I wanted to go to Graceland, and that's just what I did. My husband and I drove to Memphis and stayed at the Holiday Inn across the street from the Peabody Hotel. We went to the Peabody and watched the ducks waddle from the elevator down the carpet to the fountain in the hotel. We ate at the Rendezvous and walked down Beale Street. The most important thing was our trip to Graceland. We thoroughly enjoyed the tour. I had heard about the jungle room, so that certainly didn't shock me. The house was prettier than I expected; there was much more to see than I thought there would be; and across the street was the small broadcasting studio of the Elvis channel for Sirius. That was when I made the decision to buy the radio.
I never wanted to kiss the tires on Elvis' car, but I saw young girls doing that very thing the day he was at the Capitol. I won't attend the vigil at Graceland, but I am a devoted fan of his music. I can't wait for XM and Sirius to merge.