With apologies to my Daddy's double first cousin in Ninety-Six, SC, Nell Brooks Jones, who believes Elvis is still living, let me tell you about my recollection of the day Elvis died.
It was August 16, 1977, and my playmate Todd Rackley and I were about to enter second grade with Mrs. Jolly at Joanna School. We were spending one of our last days of summer freedom at my house. We had already been outside climbing in the barn, exploring behind the house in the fields, pulling the wagon, tracking down Bigfoot and hunting imaginary deer with our cap guns. It was late afternoon, and we were lying in front of the TV in the den, watching Tom & Jerry, eating snacks and drinking green Kool-Aid. Mama was in the kitchen fixing supper.
The national news broke in to the cartoons with an urgent announcement. The newsman with sullen face said Elvis Presley had died at his Memphis, TN, home. Mama immediately came running from the kitchen to see the screen.
"ELVIS DIED?!" she gasped.
"Who's Elvis?" we wanted to know.
"You don't know who Elvis is? Where have you been? He's the greatest singer there is."
That was the first time I remember ever hearing of Elvis Presley. And it was the day he died.
Since the cartoons were preempted by the King's death, Todd and I decided to go outside and look for Bigfoot some more. I had an idea I wanted to try about a rope booby trap to catch him around his ankle.
Ever since then, I've seen more Elvis movies, sung more Elvis songs, and heard about more Elvis sightings to make me wonder if my cousin Nell is right. Elvis seems more alive now than ever.