7.08.2018

ping and the ghost of elvis

I saw the ghost of Elvis
Down on Union Avenue
Followed him up to the gates of Graceland
And I watched him walk right through
Now Security did not see him
They just hovered around his tomb
But a pretty little thing
Waits for the King
Down in the Jungle Room
Ping would not look at the grave.
    "Don't you know?" she said. "It is not lucky."
    "But you have a whole annual holiday, sao mu, sweep the grave, where you go to the graveyard. Have a picnic, make offerings."
    "Yes but one time only. When you walk away, don't look back. And do not go home directly."
    "In case you are followed by ghosts?"
    "Yes."
Ping did not leave a bouquet at the gravesite in the "Meditation Garden." She did not even glance at it, or the graves of mama and daddy and grandma. Will Lisa Marie and Priscilla join them?
   As a former People Magazine writer who has written about both the ex-wife and the child, I will not be surprised if they do. (One of my seminal moments as a gossip writer came right after I had quit work at People for the whateverth time, when the marriage of Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie was announced. I almost passed out in disbelief.) Some 600,000 visitors a year go to Graceland, which I believe is now owned by Lisa Marie, though she has given up ownership of the company making a fortune on tours. Priscilla retains business interests as well. Suits are ongoing.

So, like, I would not be waiting for the King in this creepy, musty Jungle Room. I believe it was made out of some back patio, which was enclosed in the mid 1960s, obv.
   I do not understand the American obsession with Graceland, written about in a New Yorker article recently.  Yes, it is the second most-visited private home after the White House (ugh). I can almost understand when I listen to the Paul Simon song. And yet.  
   Ping wanted to go aboard the mouldering airplanes. And look at the souvenirs, so readily available at every turn. But in the end, she found them tacky and contented herself with some old black-and-white postcards, four for a dollar, of the young Elvis when he was beautiful and without sideburns. 
    She did not look back when we left.
  


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