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Across America

Greenbriar | Nashville | Memphis | St. Louis | Chicago | La Crosse | Badlands | Black Hills
North Dakota | Montana/Canada | Banff National Park | Columbia Icefield | Montana Return
Jackson Hole | Salt Lake City | Zion & Las Vegas | Observations | Zion & Las Vegas | Observations


MEMPHSIS

The weather was mild and clear so the drive was relatively easy. We began the first of our books on tape and this helped the miles go by. The countryside is flat and green. We snuck-up on Memphis (missed the turns) and arrived at an old but well kept downtown hotel (with a non-functioning wireless service). It is best known for having Mallards in the fountain in the lobby. The ducks are marched ceremoniously to their cage on the roof each evening with great ceremony. The kids love it.

We went for a walk in the downtown area. Largely under redevelopment for new and expensive condos. Dinner was a restaurant overlooking the Mississippi and the return to the hotel in an operating cable car. The hotel had a rock bank concert on the roof right across from the room so we were serenaded to sleep.

Graceland

A surprise. The commercialization around the site is gaudy and ubiquitous. By the time you actually get to the fašade of the house you are not ready for the understated southern-style home (he didn't build it, he bought it from a doctor). The front formal rooms are surprisingly well appointed. The home of a rich person who's decorator had taste. Actually the house is very small by today's standards. The first floor had a dining room, a kitchen, a living room, his parent's bedroom, and a rec-room. The basement was completely done as a party cum TV room. The basement and the rec-room were lavishly and gaudly decorated; carpeting on the walls and ceiling, mirrors, loud colors, wild furniture. What must have seemed fun to its owner. As I said, the house would not be what one would expect of a rich man today. Because the property consisted of 13 acres, there were several outbuildings; one a squash, exercise facility, one for horses, for cars and motorcycles, a trophy room, and ultimately, a gravesite. The home of a rich kid who could have anything he wanted. The place itself is "over the top" - any top. Fifty - 50- acres under roof; three enclosed gardens, big, gaudy, circusy, loud, red neck heaven. The overhead glass greenhouse was the largest such structure I have ever seen. Acrobats use the structure for their acts.

On the other hand, I have always been a fan of Elvis. I liked his music as a young man and still do. Walking through room after room of gold and platinum records in all kinds of music, award after award, movie after movie, one has to respect his accomplishments, even if he had failings as a person. The real fans are a hoot. One family, at the gravesite acted as if they were in a religious environment. In the end, the memory of the place is positive. In fact, even with the commercialization, the Smithsonian could learn something about telling a story of a historic figure or event from the place.

We went to eat lunch on Beale Street (Carol had ribs). Funky is an understatement.


The day ended with a cruise on a Mississippi paddlewheeler. It was a pleasant way to end our stay in the City.


     
Greenbriar | Nashville | Memphis | St. Louis | Chicago | La Crosse | Badlands | Black Hills
North Dakota | Montana/Canada | Banff National Park | Columbia Icefield | Montana Return
Jackson Hole | Salt Lake City | Zion & Las Vegas | Observations


HOME  |  AUSTRALIA 2003  |  ACROSS AMERICA  |  IMPRESSIONS OF CHINA  |  VIETNAM  |  AFRICA  |  AROUND THE WORLD 2009  |  SOUTH AMERICA 2009  |  LEGENDARY CULTURES 2011
  |  TURKEY AND GREECE  |  CIRCLE THE ARCTIC