For reasons I cannot explain
There's some part of me wants to see
-- Paul Simon
I began the day at my campsite, and this image was taken at first light. One of the many barges that ply the Mississippi River was slowly passing by just as the sun came out from behind a cloud. Watching the barges and following the killdeer that frequent the river are fun, but as it turns out I am twenty minutes from Graceland. How could I not go?
Graceland is, of course, the home of Elvis Presley, now turned into a living memorial to faux fur, shag carpeting, odd color schemes, and all those other things that we, and Elvis, thought were so cool about 40 years ago. I was surprised at how relatively normal, at least for the time, Graceland was. I had expected an house worthy of Liberace, and instead found one that, while obviously owned by a wealthy person who could afford whatever gizmos and thingamabobs caught his eye, was missing the Ultra Mega Bling Bling I had expected. Colors, lots of them, were there -- but the 1970s were like that (I had both lime green shag carpeting and an orange car once -- but thankfully, not at the same time). Graceland did have olive green shag carpeting on the walls and ceiling, stained glass peacocks, colorful fabric covering every inch of a room with a pool table, and a bright yellow and black room with silhouettes of guitars on the wall.
Love of color didn't stop in the house -- in addition to the the infamous 1955 pink Cadillac, Elvis also had a 1956 purple Cadillac convertible. When we got to the outside, the extravagances that were missing in the house began to accumulate. Elvis owned some very pricey cars such as a 1973 Stutz Blackhawk and a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud, plus numerous Harley Davidson motorcycles and race cars. His private jet, which we could tour, had a bedroom in the back -- and the bed, to comply with regulations, actually had a seat belt! Elvis had, however, replaced all the regular seatbelts in the jet with ones made of gold.
Elvis' grave site is on the grounds of Graceland, next to his parents and grandmother. Elvis had a twin brother who died at birth, and there
is also a memorial there to Jessie Garon Presley, who died January 8, 1935. Jessie's body lies elsewhere.
In death, Elvis has become bigger than life. His awards, and his gold and platinum records were displayed everywhere. They lined halls and filled trophy cases. There were literally rooms of intricately designed white jumpsuits, all hand beaded and embroidered. There were amazing works of original art, mostly featuring Elvis and his family. Everywhere there were things to look at and stories to hear. I am glad I listened to that part of me, like Paul Simon, that wanted to see Graceland.