I Can Still Hear Elvis Singing

Elvis-4Why are we all (almost to the last person) so nutty bananas about music? Why do we spend our days and nights humming tunes and then we go to bed and we dream more tunes?

Why does Elvis go on singing day and night in our heads? I can tell you only one thing I feel sure of. For most of us the music will never stop until the day we die.

ElvisSeveral years I read a book by Oliver Sacks entitled “Musicophilia.” You might remember Dr.Sacks as being the man who wrote “Awakenings” which was made into a movie starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams. He is a physician and Professor of Clinical Neurology and Psychiatry at Columbia University.

Apparently music occupies more areas of our brain than language does. I am not surprised. I have seen the Dawg Walk in Athens, Georgia on game day a number of times and I can vouch for the mind boggling beat of the drums and the fire stoked heat of the Redcoat Marching Band leaving hundreds of us speechless out behind the Tate Student Center. We are all reduced to going, “Woof, woof, woof, woof, sic ’em.”

Elvis 3Aren’t we so glad that the music plays well for us and the power of music can uplift us if we are depressed. It sets us to dancing when we feel bad. It magically transcends us from depths of somber moments and takes us back to a happy carefree time in our youth.

Be happy because Dr. Sacks tells us some people suffer from “amusia.” People who have amusia can listen to a symphony or other forms of music and it all sounds like a clattering of pots and pans to them. Sometimes our sensitivity to music can go wrong and a person can acquire non-stop musical hallucinations that attack them night and day.

But by nature music is impossible for us to resist. It is incapable of being forgotten and that is probably the reason Parkinson’s and stroke patients so often respond to music and to music alone.

So be glad our music goes so right for the great majority of us. Be glad we hear what we are supposed to hear. Hang with your own brand of music and be a happy, happy person.

I was never a great one for wanting to see Elvis in action and I was never a die-hard screaming-meemie fan but I can vouch for one thing. On a cold January day in 1935 in a two room shack in Tupelo, Mississippi an angel of death took a tiny stillborn child back to a better place.

And then a second angel (undoubtedly with golden harp in her hand) reached down and stroked the equally tiny twin brother on his throat and from that day on his vocal cords were as good as gold until the day he died. Thank God for electronically reproduced sound. The gold still flows.

And thank God I hear the music in my head every day. It serves me well.

And yes, I do hear Elvis singing every day.

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Let’s Make an Elvis Pumpkin

2007 Elvis (F)2

Can you believe it? This is a carved Elvis pumpkin. Still #1 after all these years.

You know it’s coming. Get ready. Halloween will soon be here and once again I get to show my pumpkin carving prowess. I used to use a WWI vintage bayonet but I later switched to a run of the mill sugar cane cutting machete. Katie Mae drew a red line across my bare feet when I dragged out a Japanese Katana sword. The place I was using to carve our pumpkins was almost knee deep in mostly unidentified chunks of confetti like pumpkin. I graciously agreed with her after I caught her testing the blade of the sword with her thumb.

I like to pride myself on knowing at least a little bit about what goes on around me. Now I see that you artistic folk have stencils and pumpkin carving patterns galore and Katie Mae tells me that these have been available to us for years. I guess I was always so busy with my machete and my Katana that I was unaware the rest of you had left me standing all alone knee deep in mushy destroyed pumpkins.

But I just saw a pumpkin that looked like “The King” and I was transfixed. Elvis has never looked better, at least on a pumpkin he hasn’t. I decided I would carve an Elvis pumpkin. I was going to find one of those stencils and get to work on that fine looking head. All the old gals in my neighborhood will be standing on my front porch every evening eagerly awaiting the lighting of the candle in the Elvis pumpkin.

You must remember that 57 years ago we were all glued to those small black and white television screens on September 8, 1956 when Elvis appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. You see news today about “Duck Dynasty” attracting almost twelve million viewers. Given that today there are many more venues for movies, television shows and computer games attracting viewers, I still think the number of Elvis Presley viewers watching The Ed Sullivan Show that night would even today eclipse the combined total of all the shows we have available to us.

He had 54,000,000 viewers. He was 21 years old. The $50,000.00 he was paid was an all time high for a television performance at that time. And the best part of it all, he sang, “Ready Teddy” and “Don’t be Cruel.”

Then I had the worst of thoughts. I am an old dude. I shake like a person who has Parkinson’s disease. I have to be really careful with fine motor skills because the delicate movement of my soup filled spoon from my bowl to my mouth can suddenly become a wild slinging jerk that leaves me covered in soup and still hungry.

If I buy an Elvis pumpkin stencil and a fine big fat pumpkin, the only thing I’m going to wind up with after I get through wobbling, jiggling and joggling is a bowl full of julienned pumpkin resembling long thin carrot strips.

So here I am 57 years later in my twitching spastic condition and it appears I am the one who is, “All Shook Up” so I have decided not to do harm to the precious image and memory of our King.

I have not totally given up. I’m still going to get two carved pumpkins. There are a couple of girls who work in a flower and gift shop down the street who are going to carve two pumpkins for us.

I am getting Daffy Duck for Katie Mae and Marilyn Monroe for me.

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