If you live anywhere within a few hundred miles of Memphis, Tennessee, August 16, 1977 is a date you practically learn about in school. It’s the day that, depending on your perspective, Elvis Presley either died…or the grand hoax of his death was hatched.
I am the only person in my immediate family who has never called the Bluff City home at one time or another. My mom lived there in the mid-70s while she was working in a hospital lab. My dad lived there close to the same time and claims he could practically see into Graceland’s back yard. My brother lived in Southaven around ten years ago, which doesn’t really count for this story, so I have no idea why I threw in that little tidbit. (Moving on…)
Mom really has the most interesting story out of her experience with living in Memphis. She was in the right place at the right time for about two seconds of spectacular family lore that I can always count on as a great conversation-starter in a room full of Elvis fans.
Here’s how it goes.
She told me this happened about a year before Elvis died, which is a good thing, because if she had claimed it happened after he died, we’d probably all be spending a lot of money on her therapy. She was sitting at a stoplight on her way to work (I think…it could have been on her way home from work, or it could have been on the way to the grocery store…we’ll just say “work” for now). A motorcycle pulled up beside her at the stoplight, and she turned her head to offer a passing glance at the driver. As soon as she looked back at the stoplight, she realized who was on the motorcycle and snapped her head back around to look again.
He looked back at her, smiled, and the light changed.
That was it.
I didn’t even see Graceland until I was 33 years old and she had the chance to see the man himself in a chance meeting at a stoplight.
While the story may seem anti-climactic…c’mon, folks! My mom sat at a stoplight next to ELVIS PRESLEY! While he was STILL ALIVE! And he SMILED AT HER!
Mom’s not an Elvis super-fan or anything like that, so as scores of Elvis fans make their way to and from Memphis on this August 16, she won’t be waiting at the gates of Graceland to light candles or leave flowers.
But, you have to admit that she has a pretty cool Elvis story.