Friday, January 9, 2009

You do know Elvis, right?

Quick note -- I fixed the link in the Lawlessness post -- the article is from Pearables. There are several more that are worth checking out. And I will try to remember to hit the save button to COMPLETE my adding of a link from now on. Seems I've done that alot lately -- put the links in, but skim across things so quickly, I forget to sort of lock them in.

Today it's meat canning and cookstove relocation. We are going to get an Ashley heater at the end of this week. Of course, some really cold days are moving back in Tuesday and I'll be without the woodheat to help with that next heating bill :o(

About that Ashley heater -- most the stores who still have any sort of woodstoves in stock, have only a handful; most stores were already sold out. Seems at least 4 counties in (north) Mississippi are undergoing a review/investigation/whatever-you-call-it, by the Governors office due to the electric co-ops 'extreme' rate increase. Not that that helps after the fact, but maybe we won't go through that again.

Back to the Ashley heater -- most prices were the same...Ashley wood heaters are about $650-750. I found one for $699 at Tupelo Hardware Company here locally. I talked to Dewey, and then headed back yesterday to put some good faith money down to have them hold it until we get it this weekend. Like everywhere else in Mississippi, heating season is just about done in terms of any ordering. Once they are sold off, no more ordered until next season.

Tupelo is probably a very close second, I'd actually say first actually, ELVIS stop. Nashville is a good third, but most folks come through Tupelo and visit his childhood family home, a small narrow shotgun house, then they cruise downtown Tupels visiting shops his famiy would have shopped at, then comes the stop to Tupelo Hardware, where Elvis Presley's mother, Gladys, bought her son a birthday gift in 1945.

Awww, how sweet. ?!?!?

Well, remember that rock I told you I lived under? I came out from under it yesterday.

It's a strange world out there, in case you hadn't noticed.

I'm not dissin' any of the long time, die-hard Elvis Presley fans out there, honest I'm not. But as someone on the other side of that craze, it's just amazing to watch...and listen to.

Yesterday was Elvis' birthday. My rock isn't so large that I didn't know he had a birthday, or that is was at some point in January, but I honestly had no idea it was YESTERDAY.

If you are an Elvis fan, you can imagine my surprise I'm sure. If you have ever watched ElvisMania strike, you can imagine my surprise heading into Tupelo...and daring to brave the THRONGS, the hoards, the masses...congregating for a little idol time at Tupelo Hardware yesterday.

There were tour buses. Not some shabby tourist bus set up -- those really nice, top of the line coach buses. Note the plural there. I was blessed to miss the first influx, which was apparently 3 buses (on the last big anniversary of his birth -- 50 years old or some such, I really don't know for sure) Tupelo officials literally closed and blocked the entire downtown area off from Hwy 45 up Main St. to 3 blocks beyond the hardware store...9 large coach buses arrived that day. I can't even imagine.

My experience? I like Elvis good enough. He had a good voice, I like some of his 'religious' recordings, I grew up listening to Jail House Rock, Ain't Nothing but a Hound Dog and such. My mother has one of those hip-swinging Elvis look-alike clocks hanging above her desk. My living under a rock apparently came later in life.

But a tour bus invasion? Just to stand in a hardware store in downtown Tupelo Mississippi? just to touch the counter where Elvis and his loving mother stood to play and buy that now-famous guitar?

It's a hardware store. It's an old-fashioned style with a lot of charm, not some new and updated Do-It-Best or ACE sort of store. It's quaint. But it is just a hardware store. Plumbing, electrical, garden supplies and all manners of odds and ends available. Normal hardware stuff, in a small community in Mississippi. It's hardly The Great White Way in New York City, kwim? We did have a large meteor once on display in Tupelo, but someone stole it. And there are several other sites of interest to see in and around Tupelo, just in case you wondered.

Yet, every year....on the birthday and the anniversary of his death (I hear that's sometime in August...wanna guess where I won't be going that month?), people travel insane distances to walk through the hardware store in Mississippi where the musical journey took seed.

By insane distances -- remember I'm speaking from the outside of that Elvis craze -- I'm not just talking Mississippi, or even The South in general, or even the United States at large. I'm talking European countries and Australia and such.

The United Kingdom was well-represented yesterday in Tupelo. The UK. Great folks, I'm not saying they aren't. But apparently Elvis invoked way more idolization than I honestly expected from a singer and showman. Like I said, I don't mind his voice none, but to travel half across the world to come to a small hardware store? Yes, I know they did more than that...they went to his birthplace, then the hardware store, then hit Memphis to tour Sun Studios and of course, Graceland itself. But still...all that way?

Yesterday I met several really nice folks from The UK. They took pitcures of my van -- it isnt' anything special, mind you, but I was the only under-a-rock dwelling person to park in front of the store with a Mississippi license plate I guess, LOL. I waited a good few minutes before I even got out of the car. Folks were milling around in the middle of the street so they could get better pictures of the outside of the hardward store. When I finally did get out -- and yes, I left everyone else in the van. Can't even imagine having taken 8 children into that mass! -- I made my way inside, but I waited too late. The 'display and sermon' had already started. Faithful fans stood in silence, listening the story of Forrest Bobo, the salesman, and the day Gladys Presley and her son arrived. It's all very well documented and notarized, witnessed and framed, hanging there above the famed display case where a guitar hangs proudly. And where stacks of postcards are laid out. And where newsletters and small-town pride issues are laid out. Where you can buy a badge that says you were there, reminiscing where it all began back in 1945. Oh yes, and you can buy Elvis CD's and DVDs of concerts -- most notable his famed Memphis concert, where the local boy who made good came back home. And t-shirts with the Tupelo Hardware logo in the corner, with a guitar just below. And hound dog stuffed animals.

Small town meets big city marketing.

I was asked if the Amish knew about Elvis and was I a fan. I was approached quietly, but I was approached several times. Folks in poodle skirts and caridgans; folks with some of the biggest purses and backpacks shaped like guitars I've ever seen; folks with slicked back pompador hairstyles and even a man wearing a jacket...with winged sleeves inserts and a lot of rhinestones. Elvis' face, mostly in those younger years, graced shirts, jackets, purses and virtually everything possible.

And little me in my arpon and headcovering.

I almost felt a little out of place. All I wanted to do was put a little money down on a heater to keep my family warm. It was quite an experience.

LOL. It's the headcovering and dresses and aprons I suppose. I just can't imagine some nice Amish family bee-boppin' away in their buggy to That's All Right Mama on a battery operated radio, though.


3 comments:

Ann'Re @ Home said...

YIKES! My mom was a huge Elvis fan. I'm not, but I know exactly when he died because it was on my birthday and my mom cried most the day. :S

I suppose that would be one date I'd write on the calendar though...only to make sure I avoided that store on that day. We live near a touristy Amish area and you just know there are certain days where it's better to stay home and avoid the madness. LOL

As Simply As We Can said...

Wow. My rock that I'm under must be *huge*. Didn't even know there was a Jan. birthday for him. Nor care, lol. Nope, I don't understand the Elvis mania by a long shot.

Jeff from Sun Studio said...

thanks for visiting Sun Studio!

Jer.6:16

Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

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