Day 13: Graceland
I was waiting for the shuttle to take me from the end of my tour back across the road to the shops, when an ambulance came up the hill flashing its lights, and stopped in front of the steps to the mansion. Come to find out an elderly lady had found herself in a state of distress inside, and a trip to the ER was in order. As I stood back and watched the scene unfold, I had to wonder- is this how things looked that morning on August 16, 1977? The morning another ambulance was summoned to the same place, and a 42 year old man who changed the face of music would be loaded into it, and would not return. It was too eerie, I had to look away.
Every time I visit the mansion I have a different experience, but I can offer up one tip that will never change. If you haven't been to Graceland, and are planning to go, please don't do it during peak hours. It gets very crowded. Tour bus crowded. And, not to diss my fellow Elvis fans, but the crowd at times can be rather DMVish. Every size, every shape, from every land, with every varying number of teeth. But hey, I don't judge. I'm one of them. These are my people.
Over the years the mansion tour has evolved. It used to be led by local Memphis ladies. Then they switched it to an audio tour narrated by Lance LeGault, who I loved. Now it's an iPad tour narrated by John Stamos. He does a fine job of it, but I usually pop my earbuds out about halfway through all the same. I pretty much have it memorized anyway.
The narrators may have changed, but the house itself has not. There is nothing new for me to see, and that's precisely why I keep coming back. Some things are just special because they're familiar. Graceland feels like home to me, and so long as they don't change the mansion, I will keep going back. And I will keep wishing I could spend the whole day there- curled up in a corner chair with a good book, giving the tourists a little wave of acknowledgement as they pass through.
When the tour ended, I felt as blue as I always do. I hopped the last shuttle back to Beale St, stopped for one more Bbq meal, and then it was back to the hotel to grab my luggage, and a cab to the train station. I had spent the morning editing, the afternoon at Graceland, and will spend my night riding the rails to Chicago. Day 13, back on the machine.