Last weekend a wonderful opportunity presented itself, a chance to see the home of the King, Graceland. My best friend Naeroby wanted to take a trip to see her sister who lives in Texas. They decided on the halfway point of Memphis, Tennessee.
While the trip took a while, 12 hour drive turned into about 14 hours down, it was a nice change from sitting behind a desk for 8-10 hours a day. The way home was much worse, close to an 18 hour day thanks to snow on I-88 which had to be carefully navigated. Anyways Memphis has an odd sense about it self, it reminded me a lot of Detroit in that many parts are run down and abandoned but small hubs are being revitalized. The hotel we stayed at really could have used some upkeep, none of the bedrooms matched, even the TV’s had different stations, and when we left one of the two elevators got stuck (wonder how long it took them to get them out?)
On Monday we did some exploring, while everyone was getting coffee I snuck out and viewed the Firefighter Museum in Memphis. The museum is in an old fire station and has many wonderful and unique artifacts. While the main rooms have large older fire apparatus, one of which is an old aerial which would be raised to fight the fire from above, they have many of the different styles of firefighter helmets and gear from over the history. I also learned something interesting, while I was aware and knew what a bucket brigade was, I did not know that the buckets were cone shaped as to prevent people from stealing them as they would make poor buckets for other jobs.
Later that day, we made our way to Graceland. For anyone that goes be sure to atleast get the platinum tour (I believe that is what it was called; the middle package.) For $37 it gave use a lot to looks at. The mansion tour is $30 alone but you only get the Mansion while the middle package also let’s you see his car collection, his two private planes, and a few other exhibits.
I went into Graceland knowing who the King was and hearing plenty of his music, and seeing a few of this movies.
There is however so much I never knew and never imagined about the King and Graceland. First, did you know Elvis did a charity event in Hawaii to raise money for the USS Arizona memorial? I was astonished and very surprised by this, it makes me wonder why more of today’s Hollywood’s big shots don’t do more. I also learned he helped people with their debts and was very charitable to people and was a kind soul to be around. Yet another look at his personality and makes me wonder if anyone today can match his heart, maybe Bono. Third I learned of how he was in the Army, while this is a fact I was aware of it was interesting to learn a lot more about him.
Upon leaving Graceland, you come upon his meditation garden and the grave site of his family. While many people do argue that the King will return, it is humbling to see the site of his grave while at his home. I took a long moment to reflect on his life and everything I had learned. During this reflection I noticed how many people still where visiting his home and the sheer number of tourist coming to see him. This observation helped me realize that even in death he was still helping the city of Memphis by bring revenue and creating jobs.
I highly recommend everyone visits Graceland at least once to see the home and experience a part of Elvis’ life and impact on our country and world.