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Published: October 2nd 2008
The Mississippi Delta was shining
Like a National guitar,
I am following the river
Down the highway
Through the cradle of the civil war,
I'm going to Graceland
In Memphis Tennessee
I'm going to Graceland!
Axel was sent to Memphis, Tennessee to assist with a lateral promotions board for two weeks. In the middle, Laurie flew in on her way back from Maryland to check out Graceland and enjoy a few special treats.
We began the day with an elaborate tour of Graceland: the Elvis Presley Mansion, Airplane, Car Museum, etc… It was very interesting to walk through the house that Elvis lived and partied in decades ago.
Graceland was originally owned by S. E. Toof, publisher of the Memphis newspaper, the Memphis Daily Appeal. The grounds were named after Toof's daughter, Grace, who would come to inherit the farm. Soon after, the portion of the land designated as Graceland today was given to a niece, Ruth Moore, who, in 1939 together with her husband Dr. Thomas Moore, had the present American "colonial" style mansion built.
Elvis purchased Graceland in early 1957 for approximately $100,000 after vacating an East Memphis house located at 1034 Audubon Drive. He
moved because of privacy and security concerns, and the opposition of neighbors to the enthusiastic behavior of the many fans who slowly cruised by his home. Elvis moved into Graceland together with his father Vernon Presley and his mother Gladys. After Gladys died in 1958, and Vernon married Dee Stanley in 1960, the couple lived there for a time. Wife-to-be Priscilla Beaulieu also lived at Graceland for five years before she and Elvis married. After their marriage in Las Vegas on May 1, 1967, Priscilla lived in Graceland five more years until she separated from Elvis in late 1972.
On August 16, 1977, Elvis died in his bathroom at Graceland allegedly of a heart attack, according to one medical examiner report at the time. However, there are conflicting reports as to the cause of his death. According to Peter Guralnick, the singer "had thrown up after being stricken, apparently while seated on the toilet. It looked to the medical investigator as if he had 'stumbled or crawled several feet before he died.' " The author adds that "drug use was heavily implicated in this unanticipated death of a middle-aged man with no known history of heart disease...no one ruled out
the possibility of anaphylactic shock brought on by the codeine pills he had gotten from his dentist."
After initially being buried at Forrest Hill Cemetery, and following an attempt to rob his grave, Presley's remains were moved to Graceland. The estate has become a pilgrimage for Elvis fans across the world.
After visiting with Elvis, we headed downtown for lunch. We went to Rendezvous Ribs. This little gem is tucked into an alley and has whatAxel believed to be the best ribs in the entire world. A trip to Memphis is wasted without a meal here… http://www.hogsfly.com/
Next stop was the Peabody Hotel where Laurie was surprised by its magnificent glory. (http://www.peabodymemphis.com/peabody_memphis/hotel_history.cfm ). Most importantly, the march of the ducks from their lobby fountain to their rooftop palace.
Back in 1933 Frank Schutt, General Manager of The Peabody, and a friend, Chip Barwick, returned from a weekend hunting trip to Arkansas. The men had a little too much Jack Daniel's Tennessee sippin' whiskey, and thought it would be funny to place some of their live duck decoys (it was legal then for hunters to use live decoys) in the beautiful Peabody fountain.
small English call ducks were selected as "guinea pigs," and the reaction was nothing short of enthusiastic. Soon, five North American Mallard ducks would replace the original ducks.
In 1940, Bellman Edward Pembroke, a former circus animal trainer, offered to help with delivering the ducks to the fountain each day and taught them the now-famous Peabody Duck March. Mr. Pembroke became the Peabody Duckmaster, serving in that capacity for 50 years until his retirement in 1991. Today, The Peabody Ducks are led by Duckmaster Jason Sensat.
The original ducks have long since gone, but after 75 years, the marble fountain in the hotel lobby is still graced with ducks.
Laurie, who loves anything duck-like, was overjoyed with this event. As a special treat, Axel surprised her with a suite for the night at the Peabody. Laurie’s favorite part was the duck shaped soaps…..
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