Love Me Tender

Lebanon Travel Blog

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Graceland! Memphis, Tennessee. Honestly, the whole house is not nearly as big as you would think. But boy, is it classy.
DAY 6 (6/30/08)
Memphis, TN to Lebanon, TN (Cedars of Lebanon State Park)
8pm / 75∞ / Cool, slight breeze

We started the morning with a breakfast run to the Waffle House. A chain of restaurants I’ve dubbed “the poor man’s IHOP.” It was small, dank and barely decent. For all the advertising they have along the highway, they should spend some money on product improvement. I’ve had better waffles from a yellow box in the freezer case at Ralph’s.

Then, off to Graceland – the White House of the South. Let me set it up for you –

You get to parking lot and immediately, piped in, is Graceland Radio on Sirius Satelite Radio. And so it begins, “just a hunk-a, hunk-a burnin’ loooove”…

As the crowd filters towards the ticket booth (by the way, it was surprisingly expensive to see Graceland - $32/person) you cannot help but notice the type of person at Graceland:

HIM: Mid-50’s, WHITE AS WHITE CAN BE, Midwestern or Southern and – not surprisingly – quite hefty.
Formal living room. Soak up the ambiance.
I, obviously, blended right in.

HER: Does anyone remember the Bedazzler? You know, that crafty invention whereby anyone could, in a matter of minutes, turn an ordinary pair of mom jeans into a knock-off Elvis sequined jumpsuit? Well, if you don’t, check out YouTube, I’m sure there’s a retro commercial posted. Anyway, Bedazzling is alive at well with the Graceland crowd of women. Bedazzled purses, jeans, vests, hair clips, shirts with more sparkle than an Aztec chieftain. Plus, if you’d really like to stand out in a crowd, make sure the bedazzled t-shirt has a leopard face airbrushed on it and your hair is taller than the Eiffel Tower. It would also help if you smoked, but these are just my observations.

So, the tour is completely audio on these mini-MP3 like players that hang around your neck.
Informal living room. For those casual, polyester afternoons.
They picked a great narrator who expertly guides you through your Graceland experience. Here are some interesting facts:

Elvis purchased Graceland in 1957 when he was only 22 for the staggering price of $100,000.

It is situated on 13.5 acres of land, most of which remains as pasture for his horses and a few outbuildings (racquetball court, carport and stables).

It is not nearly as big as one would think – probably only 3500 sq.feet.

Oh, and the most important aspect, it’s tacky as sin.

The house itself was bad. Like the Jungle Room: teak furniture, carved animals, a wall waterfall and green shag carpeting everywhere – even on the roof. Klassy.

The tour was very informative and, to my surprise, even talked about Elvis’ drug problem.
His music room for relaxing. Yes, that is a ceramic white monkey on the table.
I was surprised to learn that he died when he was 42. Quite young.

Some of the best sights were the special displays:

Sincerely Elvis: The Jumpsuits of Elvis

Private Presley: Elvis’ time in the military

Elvis’ cars

Elvis’ Airplanes (he had 2!)

The restaurants: serving a variety of diner food and Elvis favorites like fried pickles and peanut butter and banana sandwiches. While enjoying a diet soda, the couple next to us was dining on the peanut butter-banana sandwich and French fries, mmmmm - not. Oh, and the guy had on bib overalls, a sleeveless t-shirt, 10-gallon cowboy hat and while he ate, he was spitting his chewing tobacco juice into an emptied Coke bottle that he stowed in his back pocked. Dead sexy.

Despite this site, Graceland was pretty cool and I’m definitely happy we made the stop there.
The "Jungle Room" with built in waterfall.
I even bought a trinket or two. I did not, however, buy the $1900.00 recreated Elvis 1972 “Live from Hawaii” jumpsuit and matching cape. I just wasn’t sure how many times I could wear that in one school year without the students noticing my repetitive attire.

Our drive beyond Nashville was slowed by a major accident on the highway so we didn’t progress as far as we had hoped. Fortunately, we stumbled upon Cedars of Lebanon State Park in Lebanon, Tennessee. There WERE groves upon groves of cedar trees here, but at the turn of the century, cedar oil and cedar for pencils were in such demand that it was completely destroyed by industry. In the 1930’s, the Civilian Conservation Corps came back and replanted trees to recreate the forest that once stood there. Now, it has been made into a beautiful state park with so many amenities I am anxious to find out if California has anything comparable to this (cabins, pool, Frisbee golf course, softball field, several halls for meetings or family gatherings, hiking, etc.
Sincerely Elvis - a portion of his jumpsuit collection.
).

Tomorrow, we can spend at leisure in the region and I’m anxious not to drive for a day – maybe even hike!

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Graceland!  Memphis, Tennessee.  H…
Graceland! Memphis, Tennessee. …
Formal living room.  Soak up the a…
Formal living room. Soak up the …
Informal living room.  For those c…
Informal living room. For those …
His music room for relaxing.  Yes,…
His music room for relaxing. Yes…
The Jungle Room with built in wa…
The "Jungle Room" with built in w…
Sincerely Elvis - a portion of his…
Sincerely Elvis - a portion of hi…
More jumpsuits.  You can buy your …
More jumpsuits. You can buy your…
A Jeep Elvis used in a movie.  You…
A Jeep Elvis used in a movie. Yo…
The pink Cadillac that Elvis gave …
The pink Cadillac that Elvis gave…
Lebanon
photo by: jsfarv