Being an Elvis fan means August is special. For me, it means taking a trek to Memphis when I can. I do not do it every year but have been there 11 times. This year was a must being that it was the 35th anniversary of his death.
Here are some of my notes from that trip, which just ended today (August 17):
- CONCERT: I first saw this in its first year and was blown away. That was during the 20th anniversary year as it toured. My spot was near Chicago and I was given the task of helping sell tickets. We did. They came, they saw and it is still going on. When I wrote about it then, most didn't quite understand. If you watched the closing ceremony of the Olympics and saw the big screen, and then the live performers, that is a taste of this show. Here is the description. Elvis returns to Memphis for a spectacular concert event starring the real Elvis Presley via video. See some of Elvis' finest concert performances project ed on a large video screen, accompanied live on stage by a cast of singers and musicians who worked with him, an orchestra, and additional singers and musicians. All music heard in the concert production is performed live except for Elvis' voice.
- VIGIL: You are given a candle from Graceland folk. They light it as you walk through the gates. Along the way, if they candle burns out, they will light it again. Before approaching Meditation Garden, once again, that is taken care of if needed. Plus, the conversation stops and a peaceful reflection takes place. Tears of loss and tears of joy are all shed. It is truly a sight to experience. There is no hatred, no jealousy and no need for theatrics. One will get it after going through this. You will never be the same and that Gospel and inspirational music will live in your body and soul forever. This is more just a walk by past a grave of an icon. It will be forever etched between the pages of your minds - and hearts.
- DEATH: Elvis died on Aug. 16, 1977 and was buried at Forest Hill in Memphis, where 49 white limos take him there. He was exhumed and buried at Graceland on an October night in 1977. He, along with his mother. Vernon would follow two years later as would his grandmother in 1980. A memorial stone is there for his stillborn twin, Jesse Garon. There are still two spots left open. You make the call - Lisa Marie and Priscilla - who attended the events for the first time together this year. And at tonight's concert, she will sing with her daddy.
- GRAVE: "So hush little baby, don't you cry, you know your daddy is bound to die...but all my trials, Lord, will soon be over." Lyric from his anthem, "An American Trilogy." As for the grave, keeping the flowers, the gifts, candles and all the rest off of it is impossible during Elvis Week - - at times it reaches levels so high and wide that all graves get plenty.