Monday Jan. 1, 2018 Day Five: New Year’s Eve at Graceland (part two)
It turned out that the real New Year’s Eve party was in the lobby, where piano player Rob Haynes was bringing Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles and Elvis back to life. He was banging the keyboard not just with his hands, but with his water bottle, and finally, his feet.
A large man in a red suit and white beard started breaking out a few dance moves there in the lobby, which woke up the dozing senior citizens wearing tour badges. Arriving families put down their suitcases to join the party. Fancy guests who had escaped from the ballroom joined in. We all started to have a good time!
Suddenly the piano man slowed down and played “Dixie” as a patriotic hymn. He thundered into the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” People were getting tears in their eyes. A woman’s fist shot up in the air. This was beginning to feel a little scary, as if it was all going to explode into a Confederate rally. But the piano man shifted to “Hushabye,” putting all those fervent passions back to sleep.
The next morning, we ran across the street in the 24-degree chill, to pay our respects at Elvis’s iconic mansion. “All my dreams have come true,” Elvis said in a TV interview being played in one room. Graceland was a funhouse of 1950s fantasies being fulfilled. There were Cadillacs, private planes and mink coats. The jungle room had a real waterfall and green shag carpeting on the ceiling.
There were three TVs all in a row in the media room, a pool table, a swimming pool, even real live horses outside in a pasture.There was always a chef on duty in the kitchen, 24/7, because Elvis and his entourage might be partying at all hours of the night.
It was time for us to go. Our own fantasy was to find Vicksburg before dark.