The Man Who Would Be King (Tupelo, MS)

In the shadow of a king – photo provided by author

“I don’t like the looks of it,” said the King: “however, it may kiss my hand, if it likes.”

“I’d rather not,” the Cat remarked.

 Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland / Through the Looking-Glass

We stumbled on this exit somewhat serendipitously. I wasn’t really thinking about it, when I saw a sign on the right: “Tupelo – Birthplace of Elvis – Next Exit”.

Oh right. That guy.

My traveling companion grew up on and continues to adore this musical icon. I was not similarly indoctrinated (we were more of a Beatles family), but the passions of those I care about quickly become my own passions, because passion has to be one of the sexiest things in the world.

In other words, seeing this sign was pretty darned exciting, for the both of us.

We spent the afternoon strolling around his house and his church, then climbing an insane amount of steps up a hill adjacent to the site, to get a few shots of the above statue. There were plaques nearly every step of the journey, with quotes from people whose lives were clearly impacted by their interactions with Elvis as he was coming of age.

It struck me that you hear all the time about the screaming fans and the respect he gets from fellow musicians, but this was almost exclusively about Elvis, the person.

Granted, it was still fraught with hero-worship, that thing you do when you knew someone in high school who now has a million followers on social media, and you’re like, wow, I knew that person once! Your brain instantly wants to recount all the ways that person was kind, talented, and bound for greatness. You’ll probably never really know if any of that is objectively true. It’s just what the brain does, in retrospect.

Still, it was a fascinating stop, and I’m glad we suffered the intense heat in order to learn more about the man, prior to the weight of his crown.

Shot on Google Pixel 3, black and white filter

Other stops on our Super Summer Southern Sizzler Tour:

6 thoughts on “The Man Who Would Be King (Tupelo, MS)

  1. This was yet another amazing afternoon, brought to you by the awesome power of serendipity! One of my favorite aspects of that afternoon was the “Mystery Train – Far from Yokohama” inspired shared “walkman” soundtrack of Elvis songs, that we were able to share with one another, thanks to the magical power of headphone splitters. Thanks to Jim, Mitsuko & Jun, for the inspiration! It was in fact a bit warm (okay – it was colossally hot), but this is one of my favorite memories from that entire Tour, which was packed completely full of super incredible experiences. Thanks for always being willing to go along for the ride!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well noted! I couldn’t remember when we started the Elvis soundtrack, if it was before our visit here or after. But you’re correct – and in fact one of my favorite photos from this day is of the two of us, on Elvis’s front porch swing, and you can clearly see the Jarmusch inspiration. I agree, that was absolutely wonderful.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I completely adore that photo,. It’s one of my favorite photos of the two of us. I remember being overwhelmingly impressed by your commitment, and the interest that you showed in sharing the entire experience, knowing that you were not necessarily a huge fan, especially given the oppressively hot temperature situation (and the burning sun directly overhead). A “lesser” traveling partner could have elected to perhaps stay in the car (or in the air conditioned museum). I admired your desire to share in the entire experience, despite the somewhat extreme conditions. Super fun!

    Liked by 1 person

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