In Graceland, in Graceland
I’m going to Graceland
For reasons I cannot explain
There’s some part of me wants to see
And I may be advised to defend
Every love, every ending
Or maybe there’s no obligations now
Maybe I’ve a reason to believe
We all will be received
Yes, Mr. Simon, we were all received in Graceland, a surprisingly restrained home and shrine to Elvis. The house itself is very lovely, built in the 30’s. Remind yourself that the décor represents the 70’s and you may agreed that it could have been a lot worse. It actually looks like a family home, except for the outer buildings which now house an enormous collection of awards and gold records. When it came to record sales, Elvis was indeed the King.
He and his family are buried in the home’s Meditation Garden, as there was no other way to protect his grave. We left with respect for all he accomplished and sadness that it didn’t end well.
Next to the small town of Holly Springs, Mississippi. It has a real Faulkner-esque quality, which makes sense because it is quite close to Oxford. A very intact town square, with some pockets of charm overall. We had lunch at the Phillips Grocery Store, a real trip into the past.
Why stop there at all? As many before us have, we came to visit Graceland Too, the private home of Paul McLeod, a nutcase who has turned his whole house into an Elvis shrine. It is so over the top that thousands stop here 24 hours a day so that he can show them his treasures. I would bet a lot of them are drunk college students from Ole Miss, but he also does claim three presidents have dropped by. (Clinton, I would believe.)
Treasures he may have, but we did about 20 minutes of his rambling spiel before calling it quits. When he started to show us his gun collection just like Elvis’s, we decided to depart. Two ladies from Atlanta were there with us and we all high-tailed it out the door before he gave us a gun demonstration. The singing was quite enough…
All in all, we feel we have quite done the Elvis trail, and given the man his due respect. On to other American stories…
July 18, 2014 – and here is a coda to the story of Paul McLeod. Sad and also a little frightening: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/18/us/two-lives-collide-and-end-at-an-elvis-shrine.html?ref=todayspaper&_r=0