Today was going to be a day to remember. We thought Graceland would be memorable, which it was, but it was something even more exciting waiting for us. It was also a memorable day as I was celebrating my 20th anniversary with my husband James. It wasn’t our wedding anniversary, but granted we got married after 13 years together (and two kids), we celebrated our first real date. We planned to get to Graceland early and hit the road at 8:44am on a beautiful, sunny day with temperatures in the low 80s. Tone ventured out in shorts! By 9:22am, “Marianne” had navigated us to Graceland and we made it ahead of a few buses full of kids. How nice for them to have a field trip to Graceland. The Graceland experience was surreal from the time we parked the car. There were signs everywhere: “Elvis lives here!” (not “lived” here), and the first sight was The Heartbreak Hotel and Elvis’ plane.
I am not an Elvis fan and have never been. So, why go to Graceland? Well, I guess there is something fascinating about big stars, especially after they pass. That sounds horrible, but think about it; after Michael Jackson’s unforeseen death, I downloaded most of his songs from the Jackson Five to his solo career on my iPod running track. Sounds familiar? Back to Graceland……… We signed up for the Graceland Mansion Tour, which is recommended for “those who are looking for the Graceland experience but are on a tight schedule”. It included an audio presentation and tour of Graceland mansion and grounds; a self-guided tour of ‘68 Special Exhibit; and a self guided tour of Elvis’ Tupelo. More extensive tours included Elvis’ automobile and planes, but we weren’t that interested.
Although I’m not a fan of sight seeing tours, i.e. would never, ever go on a guided bus tour, this was a pretty nice set-up. We walked around independently to all the rooms in the house and outside that were open to the public. It was interesting to see the interior decorations and memorabilia on display. I felt like a real tourist with my camera in hand. The grounds were peaceful with lots of vegetation and horses grassing in the back yard. However, the most impressive happened at Elvis’ and his family’s resting place. As we were standing by the gravesite with Elvis’ music playing, a few school groups were waiting in line. They must’ve been 3rd or 4th graders and they were so well behaved, waiting patiently in line. I was more interested in taking pictures of the kids than the graves!