They say behind every great man is a great woman. While I tend to believe this sexist statement is true to an extent, I also think the tremendous amount of truth is in the very core of the statement. We tend to generalize it in terms of couple hood but the basis is well defined in other circumstances as well. The bottom unwavering line is this – no man is an island, including me, including you, including Charlie Hodge, including Elvis Presley.
I adore this photo for several reasons. First and foremost, the obvious requires no long explanation. It’s Elvis. Our man is belting out the resounding initial line from “Hurt”. There is no doubt to even the less studious Elvis fan. He’s digging deep as only he can do, the notes beginning well below the surface within and over flowing full force in a show stopping, ear pleasing, musical beauty of a song showcasing his considerable talent. No matter the external circumstances, he never ever lost it. I have a special personal fondness for this number. Witnessing it live from only several feet away is a memory never to be erased, always to be cherished, forever captured as a moment in time not easily equaled in importance. That’s my own personal view.
But take a closer look. View the man behind the man, the look of pure joy on Charlie’s face. That is a look we all want and desire and need in our lives, the look of a cheerleader, an encourager, a confidant and a friend. Charlie’s expression says so much. His face tells us without question Elvis nailed it. Charlie is as pleased and happy as if he himself were square within that musical bullseye. His friend is doing what he does best, achieving it with excellence, hitting the mark – and the love and friendship between the two shines through brightly.
Like the majority of fans, I only know what I have read. Obviously I knew neither man personally so I have to read and study all I can and make an intelligent informed decision on what I believe to be honest. I believe this. Charlie was a true and genuine friend. He was authentic in his role as an encourager and a sidekick. He didn’t seek the limelight himself but found delight in his role of supporting his friend. There his nothing wrong with that. I believe it was mutual. Sure the friendship had it’s ups and downs, ins and outs, disagreements and differences, as is to be expected in any close relationship. I also believe they had an understanding of one another that fell deeper than “this is my friend who sings harmony with me and gives me my scarves and water”. Charlie had been with Elvis for many years, their connection beginning in Germany in their shared Army days. They found a common bond in their southern roots and musical background, being away from home working diligently for Uncle Sam. Their friendship was obvious on stage and from what I have read, in their personal lives as well. All drama aside, and there was drama, they cared for one another.
Not everyone is the star. Some are destined for more supportive roles. Do what you do best and do your best with it. Regardless our circumstances, we can all find a genuine role in caring about someone else. Elvis needed that. Charlie needed it too. I need it and so do you. Having that stalwart friend and support makes all the difference in many instances. Being that stalwart friend brings it’s own reward. I’m certain Charlie would attest to it. His look, like their friendship, can’t be faked.
About the Author: Janet Bostic has been a fan of Elvis since the age of 5 (maybe before that!) and has studied his life as long as she can remember. She saw Elvis four times including once in 1976 when she received a scarf and enjoyed a kiss and some conversation with him. Janet has taken 4 trips to Graceland, with her earliest being in 1976 when Elvis lived there. She is visiting Graceland again in the Spring of 2019. Her favorite Elvis song is “Love Coming Down.” She is the mother of triplets and (just like Elvis) her only daughter’s name…is Lisa. Elvis has always been a huge part of her life.