Elvis Presley Had a Twin Brother

That’s one of the takeaways from my pilgrimage to Graceland, the home of superstar recording artist, Elvis Presley bought for $100,000 dollars in 1957.

I use the term ‘pilgrimage’ advisedly.  Staying at the Graceland RV park right next door to the mansion, I walked over, paid my $45 bucks and joined the queue of pilgrims (all white, in contrast to the staff who were almost all black) and rode the shuttle bus to the mansion, which by today’s standards would barely qualify as a McMansion.  It took 55 minutes to do the whole tour- the same duration as a typical Catholic mass. And though I haven’t been at Incarnation Church for a loooong time, I walked out with the same mild elation of the absolved I used to feel on Sunday mornings after church.

 

The tour narrated by John Stamos on a tablet computer was great. Really. Sanitized for sure. No mention of Colonel Parker or drugs or dying on the toilet, but the house is so authentically preserved from the era that I felt like I was in the home of a fancy relative or rich neighbor from my childhood. Low ceilings, pool table, cheesy vinyl bar, TV’s everywhere. Tacky? Sure. But if you were to be invited to a party there in 1962, you would have thought it was pretty awesome.

I was a sentient being when Elvis was on radio, TV and movies, and though I was much more captivated by Johnny Cash, Glenn Campbell and Roy Clark than Elvis, there’s no denying that we were all inhaling the peanut butter and ‘naner scented air, the kid from Tupelo was pumping into the zeitgeist. And regardless of one’s personal affinity, or lack thereof, Elvis Presley may have been singularly famous in a way no one else has ever been before or since.

Jesse Garon Presley, Elvis’ twin was stillborn. Elvis made sure a grave marker for him was put alongside his own and his parents. Not at all tacky.

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Irrational Park Tour 2016

“I’ve been everywhere, man
Crossed the deserts bare, man
I’ve breathed the mountain air, man
Travel, I’ve had my share, man
I’ve been everywhere.”

-Johnny Cash

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With the Man in Black as my inspiration, I head out for a road trip that will take me to no fewer than 5 national parks and countless Wawa’s, Citgo’s and 7-11’s. My chariot is a 1994 Pleasure Way Dodge Camper Van (laughingly called the ‘shaggin’ wagon’)  purchased on Craigslist for $13,000 non refundable dollars.

Though it required  some major engine repairs, all the toys- refrigerator, water heater, air conditioning, stove, sink, shower, toilet, generator work just fine.  I will literally be living in a van down by the river.  Check back for regular dispatches from:

Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Minnesota,
Buffalo, Toronto, Winslow, Sarasota,
Wichita, Tulsa, Ottawa, Oklahoma,
Tampa, Panama, Mattawa, La Paloma,
Bangor, Baltimore, Salvador, Amarillo,
Tocapillo, Baranquilla, and Perdilla, I’m a killer.
Boston, Charleston, Dayton, Louisiana,
Washington, Houston, Kingston, Texarkana,
Monterey, Faraday, Santa Fe, Tallapoosa,
Glen Rock, Black Rock, Little Rock, Oskaloosa,
Tennessee to Tennesse Chicopee, Spirit Lake,
Grand Lake, Devils Lake, Crater Lake, for Pete’s sake.
Louisville, Nashville, Knoxville, Ombabika,
Schefferville, Jacksonville, Waterville, Costa Rica,
Pittsfield, Springfield, Bakersfield, Shreveport,
Hackensack, Cadillac, Fond du Lac, Davenport,
Idaho, Jellico, Argentina, Diamantina,
Pasadena, Catalina,
Pittsburgh, Parkersburg, Gravelbourg, Colorado,
Ellensburg, Rexburg, Vicksburg, Eldorado,
Larimore, Atmore, Haverstraw, Chatanika,
Chaska, Nebraska, Alaska, Opelika,
Baraboo, Waterloo, Kalamazoo, Kansas City,
Sioux City, Cedar City, Dodge City