The Presley journey is far different than any other trip.
Bystanders don’t quite get it. It’s not motivated by living in the past or yearning for a different time and place. It’s not an elevated plane of worship with levels to achieve. There aren’t shiny merit badges and glamorous award presentations. There aren’t steps to tic off as you make your way like in a board game nor is there a colorful roadmap with flashing signposts. In fact, the Elvis autobahn only has a entrance ramp; there is no final destination. Arrival is not the purpose. The trip itself is it’s own reward.
One individual’s Elvis route has no bearing on another’s. My thoughts and feelings and knowledge has nothing to do with anyone else. We don’t necessarily travel the same direction. Or at the same speed. There is no need to out maneuver others because competition is a moot point. My path is mine and yours is yours even though we’re part of the same motor club. Belonging provides a personal fulfillment, something the world beyond the King can’t comprehend.
The baggage you carry with you doesn’t matter. If it’s every single album he ever recorded or tapes of each movie or drawings of all the jumpsuits complete with concert tour information and set lists, or all “429” songs, it neither is fuel nor hindrance. It simply makes the passage more comfortable, softening the hard blows of the bumps and pot holes and the snarled traffic patterns on life’s expressway.
An Elvis Presley road race is not really a race at all. It’s a daily vacation which takes in all it’s surroundings. You can crank up the music and sing along, or simply softly listen to his voice with your heart, while soaking up the landscape and glancing over at the scenery of your insanely handsome travel companion.
Only after steadily making your way for awhile, can you look in your rear view mirror and actually see where you started. And no matter how far ahead you look, you can’t see a finish line. Elvis’ towpath is generally not one where a person just decides one day “I think I’ll be an Elvis follower.” The Presley interstate draws you in with a felt connectivity that is hard to explain.
There are other journeys, other highways travelers can take. Some exchanges highlight the Beatles or the Stones or Broadway musicals or romantic comedies or political satire. However intriguing or entertaining they may be, the drivers chose that passageway. The Presley path is chosen for you. It falls short of a calling, but is more than a choice.
Elvis was always searching for purpose, according to those that knew him. I think what he was looking for was always hidden in plain sight right in front of him although he didn’t know it. It was packed tightly within the package of love he gave to others when he genuinely and freely gave so much of himself.
He has saved many from sadness and loneliness and isolation and replaced despair with joy and happiness and comfort by his very existence – something he never knew he was doing – something he still continues to do today, within his soothing familiar voice and his forever charismatic presence. He doesn’t erase solitude but he enhances it.
The shared heartstrings will always provide that closeness from man to fan. We’re blessed to travel with the King keeping us company as we navigate this sometimes arduous journey.
One hand on the wheel and a heart full of perfectly matched companionship makes for a more enduring and memorable journey. The highway of life is far more manageable and fun, traveling with Presley’s loving Thelma happily perched alongside our own adoring Louise.