Making the most of my layover

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So … there we were … my sister and I planning a trip with mom – a week in Branson, MO.  I’d worked on this outing for months and very much looked forward to it.  I had the show tickets, the car reservation, the maps, the hotel info; every possible detail tucked into a tabbed binder organized day by day.   I know what you’re thinking but that’s just how I roll.

I decided to try to use air miles to fly from my home in Grand Rapids, MI to Springfield, MO  (Branson is located about an hour south).  Anyone who has ever flown this way knows to expect the “milk run” (connections, layovers, delays and more connections.)  To my delight, a route came up that would have me stop over in Memphis, TN.  A sly grin crossed my face as I realized that I would have just over 2 hours on the ground. In Memphis. Home of Elvis A. Presley.  A quick Google search told me that “Graceland” stands about 6 miles from the Memphis airport.  And, just like that, a plan was hatched.

Landing in Memphis on the first day of Elvis week, 2007, (and the 30th year since his passing), I pushed through the crowd, stepped into that sweltering Delta heat and hailed a cab to Graceland.  Me!  A Saskatchewan farm kid who grew up watching (drooling over) Elvis do his thing in movies and TV specials.   Elvis was my first crush and, to this day, I still carry a torch.  Not apologizing.

Milling around the gates and grounds of Graceland, rubbing shoulders with thousands of fans from such far away places as Australia, Lithuania, Italy and Germany, I felt a kinship like I’d never before experienced. I pinched myself to make sure that this was really real. This was a bigger dream than I’d ever dreamed for myself.

Oh Lord, it was hot. It was humid.  People cried. I might have cried a little, too.    Suddenly, it became clear what I needed to do  – the only thing that made all the sense in the world – I dialed my very best friend, my cousin up in Edmonton, Canada and kept her on the phone with me as I went through the tour.   (one time I was darn glad for a cell phone!) We “went” through it together.   We laughed. We sighed. We oohed and we ahhed. We remembered all those nights together … years ago… singing along with “The King,” swooning at his gorgeous face, being charmed by his boyish mannerisms and wishing, just once, we could have seen him perform.   She and I were together at horse camp when we heard the awful news that sad August day.  Oh how we cried the day he died, and the days that followed, too.

To this day, when I’m happy, I reach for uptempo Elvis classics like “Burning Love,” “Guitar Man,” “Return to Sender” or “Little Sister.”  When I’m sad or just need to think, I turn to his gospel greats including, “How Great Thou Art,” “Where could I go but to the Lord,” and “Amazing Grace.”  And when I want to just get my groove on I crank up “A little less conversation,” “Rubbernecking” and “Jailhouse Rock.”  Elvis always delivers and never disappoints.

I’ve traveled a fair amount and definitely had my time in plane purgatory – dashed across a snowy Denver tarmac in sandals on my way back from Mexico,  spent nights in airports, been bored waiting endlessly to taxi and spent what seems like weeks in customs.

And this? This was simply the best layover ever.  (and our Branson trip was great, too!)

Rock on Elvis fans! It’s Elvis Week!

He is always on my mind ..and forever on my playlist… and fans reading this will completely understand.

Categories: Attitude, Beauty, Confidence at any age, Determination, Fun, Gratitude, Joy, Life, Men, music, Opinion, Personal, Share, Travel, Uncategorized, Women | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

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25 thoughts on “Making the most of my layover

  1. That was so neat that you thought to call your cousin/friend to share the tour with you! I, too, am an Elvis fan. My sisters were teenagers when I was born (which you know, since you read my blog), but I remember going to his very early movies with them when I was a child.
    LOVED the tv special he did from Hawaii wearing black leather….hmmm.

    • Yes! Many of my earliest memories contain Elvis … the movies, the music, and of course, the TV specials. The Black Leather Elvis 68 Comeback special, the Vegas shows and yes that concert in Hawaii. I went to “Elvis on Tour” with my Mom in the early 70s and again last summer when it was re-released in theaters. Fun stuff. Thanks for weighing in .. and for appreciating all he had to offer. Cheers! MJ

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  3. “Thank you very much.” 😉

  4. Sounds like fun since you are an Elvis fan.

    • It was a total blast .. wish I could have stayed longer but I completely rolled in every minute that I did have 🙂 Cheers, MJ

  5. cooper

    don’t hate me. i’m trying…really trying…to appreciate Elvis and there are a couple songs I do enjoy listening to. I’m glad you had the experience, tho. I know Graceland is big doings for Elvis fans.

  6. Good for you to hail a cab, get over there and back not about to miss the opportunity. Talk about bumper to bumper schedule. You are a girl who makes time for the important memorable stuff. I loved “Blue Hawaii”.

    • You should have seen my face when I realized someone was holding us up from deplaning. I have never hustled that quickly … but it was totally worth it. Even the cabbie had mutton chops (and way too much cologne). When I told him my story, he just grinned and said, “Girl .. I will get you there don’t you worry…” One of my most favorite memories. Cheers! (( and I loved Blue Hawaii, too )). MJ

  7. Now that’s a layover you can live with and rejoice over! Well done!

  8. You are so smart AND so brave…I would be all worried that I would miss my plane,ect. Way to go!

  9. My mm said that only Elvis could get me to sleep when I was a baby.

  10. Hey, I grew up about two hours south of Memphis. And the strange thing? I love Elvis’ music, watched a lot of old Elvis movies, but NEVER made it to Graceland! I guess I need to go!

    Thanks for sharing!


    • It’s not a place I thought I’d ever get to .. but when I had the chance to .. I jumped on it. Highly recommended 🙂 MJ

  11. Pingback: Pump up the volume: Elvis Week 2011 begins « The Mystery Train Elvis Blog

  12. oh my goodness! he is so dreamy! i cannot wait to visit graceland some day. ‘always on my mind’ is in my top 5 songs. but my all time favorite is ‘can’t help falling in love.’ twas my first dance song with my hubby at our wedding. sigh…

    • Oh yeah, Hottest man that ever lived, bar none. Hubby knows, he rolls his eyes at me and lets me have my girlish indulgence. Beautiful songs you mentioned 🙂 MJ

  13. Pingback: Survey says 11-11-11 | Emjayandthem's Blog

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