May 08, 2016 (by Jimmy) – Angela and I had a decision to make this weekend. We are trying to complete our list of places we want to visit in the West Tennessee, Northern Mississippi, and Northern Alabama areas. We want to complete our list before heading to Vermont in July, and on our list for this weekend was to tour Oxford, MS to see where William Faulkner and John Grisham did their work. Also on our list, was a trip to Tupelo, MS to see the childhood home of Elvis Presley. We looked online to see what literary treasures there are in Oxford, but since Mr. Grisham is still alive, and, I’m sure, would rather folks not roam around his house, and since Angela is not a fan of Mr. Faulkner because he had the audacity to print a two-and-a-half-page sentence in one of his novels, we decided to go to Tupelo.
We arrived in Tupelo around lunchtime and had lunch at a little outside hamburger joint called Dairy Kream. We had coupons for this place, so we both had a cheeseburger, fries, a coke, and an ice cream cone. Both of us ate for right at six dollars. After we finished eating, we went to a farmer’s market that was across the parking lot and bought the first watermelon of the season; it’s currently in the fridge.
All the while we were eating, there were beautiful older model cars passing the restaurant. At one point I asked another patron if there was a car show around. He said, “Yes, just down the road” (thank you, Mr. Faulkner, for the long sentence). Angela, knowing how I love beautiful older cars, said we could go to the car show after we saw the Elvis Birthplace. At this point, you may think that I was like Chevy Chase in the Vacation movie when they stopped at the Grand Canyon. He nodded his head a couple of times, and said “Okay, let’s go,” but you would be wrong. I really like knowing about people, and I had been looking forward to seeing the Elvis Exhibit. Plus, the car show would be going all afternoon, plenty of time.
It was only a few blocks to Elvis birthplace. We parked, went in, bought our tickets, and walked into the theater that was getting ready to start showing the historical video (2 min, before start time, great timing). Once done we followed our pamphlet to where the next attractions were. The first was the boyhood home
The house was built by Elvis’ father and other family members and had two rooms (a bedroom and a kitchen). No electricity and no plumbing; folks he was born in Mississippi in 1935; the man knew what an outhouse was. The lady inside the house had a wealth of knowledge about Elvis and his upbringing. We spent a good 15-20 minutes talking to her. If nothing else, she made the tour worth the price of admission. Next, we moved on to the statue of Elvis a boy.
It was such a nice day to be out. The folks that run this place have been adding things through the years,so If you haven’t been in a while, make a point to go by again if you are in the area. They are currently building an amphitheater behind the main building. Angela had been here a while back, but they moved the church that he went to onto the property since she had been there, and that was our next stop.
They had a movie in the church, and it was exceptionally done. Three screens dropped from the ceiling (one in front and one on either side). You were then provided 30 minutes of what it was like to be in church with Elvis. He and his parents (actors of course) were there and came to the front to sing a song. Other songs were sung. The preacher didn’t really preach, but he did say some words of encouragement (the focus was on the singing). It was like church, but they didn’t pass the collection plate (they did that at the ticket office). Anyway, I had never seen anything like it and thought it was very cool.
One man sat on the back row because he didn’t want to block anyone’s view. I got a picture of him after the service was over.
Yes, for real, he should have had a miniature man on a surfboard attached to his hair.
The remainder of the tour included a fountain that commemorated the 13 years that Elvis lived in Tupelo, a wall that shared other people’s memories of Elvis as a youngster, and the car that Elvis’ dad used to move the family to Memphis.
Speaking of cars… We finished with the Elvis Birthplace Exhibition. It was excellent. I would recommend it to anyone. It was well worth the $17.00 paid to get in. The historical movie was well done; the actual house was nice (and the lady there with the information made my day), and the church film was outstanding. You will spend a couple of hours here, maybe a little more if you visit the souvenir shop (with an RV, we don’t have room).
Next we went to the car show. The show known as Blue Suede Cruise was held at the BankCorp building. Angela went into the building to get a drink of water and rest while, me – camera in hand (and a time limit provided) – went out in search of metallic beauty.
All-in-all, it was a very nice trip. Until later… Later…