We pulled up to a Memphis BBQ joint in a pink limo. [You know you’re in for a real treat when the story starts off that way.] Right inside the door, we paused for photos with a cardboard cutout of Elvis and then took our seats behind two Elvis wannabes. On my left was a rather large woman decked out in pleather and to my right was none other than the woman we’d come to know as Sharon.
I saw her sauntering through the restaurant, greeting her friends and fellow Elvis fanatics who were there for the anniversary of Elvis’ death. I knew I couldn’t leave without a photo of this Memphis character. When she walked by, I stopped her to compliment her on the unique Elvis Presley pants she was wearing. I asked her where she got them, and it turns out than Sharon made them herself. She insisted Stella and I feel them to see how the letters lay flush with the fabric. When we told her how much we loved her Elvis-inspired wear, she said, “People always ask me, ‘Sharon, what do you wear to the doctor?’ and I say, ‘This.’ Then they’ll say, ‘Sharon, what do you wear to a wedding?’ and I say ‘This.’ I go everywhere in my Elvis outfits. In fact, we’ve got a wedding to go to for one of our Elvis friends in a few weeks.”
Sharon asked if Stella and I had brought our husbands with us to Graceland, followed by the best question of the night: “So, did you meet through Elvis?” We explained that, unfortunately, our story is not quite as interesting and that we met in Kenya on a non-Elvis related trip. As we got to know Sharon, we found out that she’s had the same room at the Heartbreak Hotel every time she’s come to visit for the past 27 years. She offers tours now to women her age and told us how she goes to Graceland at midnight on Elvis’ birthday- just to be the first to sing Happy Birthday to him. She was more than happy to get a photo with me and told us about her special TLC necklace made from the same mold as Elvis’; she only takes it off for x-rays.
Nothing sums up Sharon’s devotion to Elvis quite as much as when I asked her the following:
Laura: So, do you have a lot of Elvis memorabilia in your house?
Sharon: Not so much. We had a house fire.
Laura: Oh that’s awful.
Sharon: Yeah. We have a 4-car garage that is packed floor to ceiling with boxes of Elvis stuff and our second home in Tennessee is full as well.
Though Sharon and I have *slightly* different opinions on what “a lot” means, she was a real gem to meet in Memphis and ranks as Interesting Character Number 2 of the road trip!