You know those silly questions that you are always asked when getting to know someone better such as: What do you do in your free time? What types of books and movies do you enjoy? Or, who is your favorite band? Well...growing up, I always hated answering this last one. You see, it wasn't so much that I didn't have a favorite band, it's just my favorite band was actually a singer. And, a singer who was deemed popular generations before my time.
I never really cared much, nor do I care now what people think about me. It's just when you tell someone that you have loved Elvis Presley since you were three years old, and you are currently in your twenties, the inquisitive look they give is unforgettable.
Why does my music preference make peoples foreheads wrinkle? I'm really not quite sure. Maybe it is because they are trying to figure out how someone who was born after Elvis' passing could be so enamored with him and his music, or maybe it's the fact that no matter how great Elvis' music was and still is, people can't help but think about how The King of Rock n' Roll tragically died. Whatever, the case may be, I always feel compelled to explain myself, to give them the why when it's not really any of their business.
And, now when someone asks me what Presley's name is, I tend to hesitate a bit before I tell them. You see, the same thing happens. People repeat her name, they give me that inquisitive look that expects an explanation, and then they wait. Sometimes I oblige and give them the answer they are wanting, other times I just ignore their nosiness and move on because deep down, I know the why, and that's all that really matters.
But...I feel a need to let it out, put my thoughts and feelings into words, and explain. So, here it goes!
Flashback to 1987 with me....I'm three years old. I have long blond pig tails, and bright blue eyes. I'm in awe of the bright lights, the reflections of the jewels on his jumpsuit, and the boom of his deep voice as he scoops me up and sings me the lyrics of Love Me Tender. All I can do is stare with my mouth open, as he slips the silky scarf around my neck, kisses my check lightly, and hands me back to my mother. I'm confused at what's just happened, but somehow I know that I'm special because he chose me. And, from that moment on...
My grandmother continued to bring me to every Raymond Michael show. My parents planned a trip to Graceland for me when I was five. People began to buy me any Elvis memorabilia they could find. I hung an Elvis beach towel on my wall, and threw an Elvis blanket on my bed. I acquired every Elvis CD he ever produced, and listened to his music daily. My parents hired Raymond Michael, the Elvis impersonator to sing at our wedding reception. We planned a trip as a family of 3 1/2, when I was pregnant for the second time, to Graceland. My dear friend Marci threw me an Elvis/Graceland themed sprinkle. We named our second daughter Presley. Ryan and I visited Vegas to see the Cirque du Soleil Viva Elvis show. And, now I take my daughters to listen to the music of Elvis performed by Raymond Michael, so I can watch the awe in their eyes as he picks them up and sings to them.
After all this time, it has never occurred to me, until just recently, exactly why I love Elvis so much and who is to blame for my fascination. Whether it was my grandmother's invitation, my parents approval, the Elvis "things" given to me, or the trips I took, it doesn't really matter. Because, you see....
The meaningful lyrics and the melody of the music resonate who I am, what I have become, and what I aspire to be. Elvis, his music, the essence he created runs deep in my soul and close to my heart. A past time has become a now time, and a million treasured memories exist all centered on this cornerstone.
Now, if you would please excuse me, I have a Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich to enjoy while listening to my favorite singer of all time...The King!