Friday, February 24, 2012


     Twice in my life, I’ve found Elvis Presley alive and well. The first time was on Tortola, one of the British Virgin Islands approximately 150 miles east of San Juan Puerto Rico. I arrived on the small island around 6 PM in a small plane. From the tiny airport, I shared a cab with five other people who were on the same flight. After two stops at what appeared to be nice hotels, to let the other passengers out, the cab driver took off for a more remote part of the island, where I learned my hotel was located. I had asked the department secretary to plan my trip, because I thought my time was too precious to spend it making any of the arrangements myself.
     The building was a two story older structure, close enough to the water you could smell the salt air and occasionally engine flumes from the outboard engines on dinghies coming and going from the dock attached to the hotel. With hundreds of sailboats anchored off shore, people had to come in for resupplies of food and fresh water.
     After traveling a good portion of the day, I was exhausted and decided to get in a short nap before dinner. That was when I met Elvis for the first time, several years after he had died.
     I couldn’t believe it. The man was alive and well on the island of Tortola. Not only did the King of Rock and Roll look fit, he sang all the songs I remembered and loved.  When wakened by the sound of clapping, and yells of approval, I soon realized my euphoria of discovering Elvis’ hideout had been a dream.
     An Elvis Imitator was performing downstairs in the bar, which was right below my room. The entertainer had started his show at 9 PM. Not only had the secretary booked the cheapest hotel on the island, she had booked the worse room in the place. Obviously, saying something to the secretary about my time being precious had upset her. Unable to sleep any longer, I went downstairs, took a seat in the bar, ordered one of the two meals listed on the menu, and drank a bottle of water imported from some place I’d never heard of.
     The second time I met Elvis was the night after an evening out this week to see and hear the Million Dollar Quartet at the Walton Arts Center on Dickson Street. Talk about talented people.
     Cody Slaughter, a true Southern boy from Harrison, Arkansas, plays the part of Elvis. He looks like Elvis, sounds like Elvis, and moves every part of his body pretty much like Elvis did. The other actors/ musicians who play the parts of Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Dyanne, and Sam Phillips are also brilliant. Those folks sang and played their instruments with the skill and depth of the original performers. Their stage performance was incredibly good.
     By now you know I had another dream. This time I found Elvis in an old run down mobile home. It was the kind of place where the furniture, floor, and walls appeared to be harboring vapors of a fatal flu virus. To my surprise Elvis was there visiting an old friend of his, who apparently owned and lived in the home decorated with early germ infestation decor and odors.
     How I ended up there, I do not know. Elvis’ friend invited me inside where he introduced me to the young singer, who was sitting on a club chair that appeared to have been broken in by twenty-seven dogs over a period of thirty or so years.  After Elvis shook my hand, I told him I was a big fan, and that I had been an Elvis imitator when I was in the second grade. He wanted more details.
     After performing before my second grade class, my teacher, Mrs. Murray, took me into the other classrooms. In each room, I sang You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog while playing a plastic guitar, with what we in the music business call a lot of hand movement over non-existent strings. I had the Elvis hair, many of the Elvis body movements, and the voice of a young rock and roll singer destined for stardom. I learned singing that song was a good way to get girlfriends in the second grade. Even Mrs. Murray had a crush on me for a couple of days.
     “Thank you. Glad to meet you,” Elvis said, after I told him of my short lived singing career in elementary school.
     Movement out the window caught our attention. Elvis and I admired a crop duster plane passing off in the distance. It turns out the guy who owned the mobile germ farm had a father who was a crop duster pilot, and he was flying by.
     The next thing I knew, Elvis left to find a bathroom down the hallway.
     A tap on my shoulder, from the guy who owned the trailer. “Why are you here?” he asked.
     Then it hit me. I realized who I was and how I got there. I could save Elvis. “I’m from the future and I have traveled back in time.”
     The guy said, “I am too, but we can’t tell Elvis what’s going to happen to him.” I took that to mean we couldn’t tell him he was going to die at age 42.
     When Elvis stepped back into the room, for some reason he decided to get into bed and pull the covers up to his chin.
     I wanted to tell the young rock and roll singer not to take drugs, not to divorce Prisilla, and not to die before his time, but I couldn’t do it. Why, I do not know.
     Gazing down at his face, barely out from under the covers, I said, “I’m from the future. I can’t tell you everything that's going to happen, but I can tell you that you will become a monumental rock and roll star of humongous proportion.”
     He smiled, not knowing his life would end too way too soon.
     At that point I woke up and felt terribly sad. I regretted not being able to save the King of Rock and Roll from his early death.
     Dreams rarely make sense, but after having two dreams in full color, so real, I could reach out and touch the man, I have come to realize just how much I miss the King of Rock and Roll.