the day tammy wynette died
i finally went to graceland too. a much-changed relic of antebellum holly springs, the attraction is a an old plantation home retooled by paul macleod into an elvis shrine. most interesting is that the home is also a shrine to macleod and his family, and his inextricable linkage of his own life to elvis’s. we got there at 2:30, am. the place is open 24/7, with macleod proudly maintaining that he drinks a case of cokes a day and rarely sleeps. appearing to be in his seventies and overtly neurotic, it seems the home may not be open much longer.
macleod took about fifteen minutes to come to the door. we circled the building, painted navy with black windows (because “elvis dyed his hair black”). it is secure, with a high chain-link fence encircling it completely and containing numerous cadillacs of varying quality.(additional security is provided by macleod’s .38 which he displays more than once throughout the tour quite casually. he also has a homemade electric chair).
it doesn’t matter if it’s a gum wrapper or a car, macleod maintains that nearly everything is worth millions. and he has millions of things. wine bottles, newspaper clippings, and stock photos of elvis’s former girlfriends; all this is interrupted with photos of macleod’s own family. his son doesn’t really look like elvis, but he is from nearly the same place, and he has the same hair. it’s easy to lose yourself from one photo to the next and nearly forget the distinctions between the people you see.
the tour itself felt draining, with macleod’s frenetic pacing and insistence on constant attention removing any potentially contemplative moments. the tour is about macleod and his obsession with elvis much more than it is about elvis. this isn’t uninteresting, but i found it striking that a moment of impulsive singing when a new song started (he has an elvis soundtrack) from a member of the group elicited little reaction from paul; he was far more concerned with maintaining control, and with making sure that we understood his connection to elvis.
in the end everyone was frazzled, but we still blared tammy on the way home and shot off two moderately powerful fireworks at sardis while eating powdered donuts. the sun was up when i got home, and my shoes were dirty.
one year anniversary. tornadoes. the tornado. there was so much fear and hope and pride and sadness and emotion in the weeks and days following the destruction. and i didn’t even remember that a year had passed. last night i slept in a hammock, and the last thing i thought about was whether or not that raccoon would bite (it didn’t). life goes on, and i guess it has to. it would be different if i were still there, though. i miss the black warrior
gender neutral pronouns
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