I inquired, "What is something fun, unique, that we all can do?"
(A few years ago, Perry had rented this double decker bus, imported from England, for the family to visit William Faulkner's home and drive around the town square and have a tour of Oxford. It was great!)
At this years Thanksgiving table, I was sitting almost directly across from Rachel, a sophomore at Ole Miss, who exclaimed, "I know! We can go to Graceland Too!!!"
I, a Northerner, asked, "What is that?"
"It's a knock off of Graceland."
"I said, "Surely it is not open Thanksgiving evening."
Rachel enthusiatically and determinedly replied, "He is open 24/7!"
I love an adventure so I declared, "Okay, let's go. I'm in."
We then strategically went around the table, one by one, getting everyone on the Elvis Train.
So, after dinner, boogie leaf boarding and either napping or hide and seeking, it was time to go to Holly Springs, Mississippi.
No one had "Blue Suede Shoes" but cousins Ricky and Lydia had the coolest red chucks!
The moment we drove up, there was an eerie feeling in the pit of my stomach. Mind you, I said I like an adventure, but a relatively safe one. I was practically hiding behind the suburbans as I took this photo of the brave ones approaching the front door. My husband was the one who actually rang the bell...the leader of the pack. Oh, ye brave man.
Upon entering, paying our $5.00 and wishing Paul MacLeod a "Happy Thanksgiving!" we were standing in Graceland Too. (In hindsight, had I known how he must live, I so wish we had taken him a plate overflowing with Thanksgiving dinner.) I myself am not an Elvis fan, but Paul sure is. His entire life is devoted to Elvis.
I think I can very safely declare that every square inch of space is filled with Elvis "stuff." Paul has spent an enormous amount of time and energy curating his space. The above photo is of a ceiling.
Here, wall-to-wall records and jackets.
Here's part of the clan signing a shirt. Rachel had signed it upon her first visit, so of course, we needed to join her in leaving a part of us in this collection. (Yes, I admit, I signed it too.) I feel badly writing this but it was part of the experience...oh, the smell. And Paul's dentures...moving and slipping in and out as he spoke...and the breath.) Enough! Seka, are you still with me? And he spoke so fast, like an auctioneer, with a Southern accent...I hardly could understand him. I do remember something about Graceland Too "being more spectacular than the Vatican."
I recall thinking in this room, as I stood in the way, way back, that three short weeks ago, Perry and Frances had been missionaries, and now we had gotten them into this adventure.
After many rooms overstuffed with Paul's vast collection, including padlocked trunks stacked along the perimeter and in the center of each room, we were released into his backyard.
Just as scary. But, oh, at least we could breathe! It is a takeoff of "Jailhouse Rock" complete with a homemade electric chair and bob-wired fencing everywhere. We were all preTTy scared. Here are cousins Seth and Emily hanging on for dear life. I will always remember, as we were standing, rooted to this spot, Lydia, almost hissing at her older sister Rachel, "What were you thinking bringing us here?!!"
In this same spot, college Cousin Ricky boldly stated, "This is enough to make me start writing a journal!" (Our car did stop on the return trip home and Uncle Steve and Cousin Seth purchased a notebook. Seth and I (and someone else fun, I don't remember) went upstairs once back to the house and did a journal entry for him. Seth and ? wrapped it and we all presented Ricky with his newly minted journal.)
Another memorable quote was when Jessica really, truly was ready to burst in needing to use the facilities and I had told her in no uncertain terms was she even going to ask, none the less actually use the facilities, if there were was such a thing, Emily leaned in and said, "Zip it J."
Oh, it was unique, all right. A one of a kind Thanksgiving that we will talk about for years!