Sunday, November 2, 2014

Now or Never

Graceland, 1987

Elvis Presley
After being dumped by our respective girlfriends, Hans and I decided on the spur of the moment to drive to Graceland in August 1987 for the 10th anniversary of Elvis' death. Hans' mother had been a big Elvis fan and owned a lot of his old LPs that we'd made fun of as kids. They had cheesy photos of Elvis with his arm around some buxom girls or a picture of him in his military uniform driving a convertible with the caption, "A Date with Elvis." We thought it was ridiculous. But then he died and we changed our tune, so to speak.

One thing about Graceland is that no matter where you are--the gift shop, the Zebra room or the memorial gardens--they pipe in Elvis music 24/7. And it includes a lot of songs that you don't normally hear on the radio. Sort of the forgotten Elvis, I would call it. Songs like, "That's When Your Heartaches Begin" or "Treat Me Nice."

While we were following our appointed group across the hallowed grounds, we ran into two French girls who were on a whirlwind tour of the U.S. by bus. They visited something like 17 cities in 22 days. They'd drive all night (sleeping on the bus) then visit New York, Washington, Atlantic City, Disney World, New Orleans, Memphis and everything else they'd soaked up in the mass media back in (ooh la la!) Paris.

They didn't speak English very well (as far as we could tell) but they were just our speed and Hans and I being unattached, we tried our best with them. (I will remind the reader, these were French girls. See my earlier post about cultural stereotypes and the French.)

Our tour leader had to call out to these two French girls to stay off the lawn, please. They had been taking pictures of one another in front of every historic marker and monument in the eastern U.S. and didn't seem to hear or understand. But boy, were they ripe. Hans stepped in and generously volunteered to keep an eye on these two as we made it through the mansion. Our tour leader was relieved.

As the tour progressed and we were being led back down the lawn to the gift shop, we knew these French girls were about to board a bus to Chicago or something and we had to act fast. The song, "Now or Never" began playing and boy was it timely. That's what He would have told us if he could see what was happening, we figured.

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