Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Posts Tagged ‘Las Vegas

“The King” still Reigns in Faulkner Country

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11tupelo05AElvis at 13

Story & photo

By Sandy Katz

  Mature Life Features

TUPELO, Miss. —- The two-room dwelling where Elvis Presley came into this world still stands in a park here. Other local sites important to the formative years of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll include Milam Jr. High, where he won his first talent contest; the Tupelo hardware store where he bought his first guitar, and Tupelo fairgrounds, where he performed early in his career.

There are other aspects of culture and heritage of the Magnolia State handy, such as the nearby Tupelo National Battlefield, a reminder that many of the Civil War’s fiercest battles were fought on Mississippi soil. North and west of here is Holly Springs with its historic antebellum homes. Between these two communities is Oxford, immortalized in writings of William Faulkner, and the picturesque campus of the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss).

The Depression Era house where Elvis Presley was born in January 1935 was built by his father, a dairy farmer, for $180. Originally wallpapered with newspapers, each room now has flowered wallpaper and one lightbulb. In a 1957 hometown concert, Presley donated the proceeds to buy his birthplace and 15 surrounding acres. Elvis Presley Park now includes a memory walk where residents detail their recollections of the singer, a museum that traces his road to fame through a collection of his clothing from riding boots to a Las Vegas jumpsuit, a chapel, and an “Elvis at 13” bronze statue depicting him as a young boy in overalls with guitar in hand.

An annual Elvis Presley Festival the first weekend in June brings music, food, and fun to downtown Tupelo. Musicians from around the country play the music that influenced Elvis and music that he influenced. Among the festival events are a motorcycle show, pet parade, movie-
poster exhibit, and recliner, walking and bicycle races. When not singing, Elvis collected cars, often giving them away to friends. The Tupelo
Automobile Museum complements the nearby scenic made-for-cruising Natchez Trace Parkway. The 100-plus vehicles in the museum range from seven-horsepower models that could barely make it up hills to juiced-up Thunderbirds, Plymouths and Pontiacs. From the Fabulous Fifties,
there is a Corvette the color of Marilyn Monroe’s Technicolor-red lips, Mercurys and Buicks the color of lemons, and Packards and Edsels that really were lemons.

The Natchez Trace Parkway Visitors Center and Headquarters includes a giant mural depicting the history of the 444-mile route linking Natchez to Nashville. Designated a National Scenic Byway and an All-American Road, it is open year-round for motorists, hikers, and cyclists and offers visitors the opportunity for an unhurried trip through time.

With 64 antebellum properties in a landscape dotted with historic sites, magnificent homes, and wrought-iron fences, nearby Holly Springs draws thousands of visitors annually during the last week in April for the Holly Springs Pilgrimage. Guests are greeted by locals dressed in period costumes who provide detailed history about the homes, such as Walter Place, which was home of General Ulysses S. Grant.

Just off the town square is Graceland too, which attracts music fans to what possibly is the largest collection of Elvis Presley memorabilia on the planet. Owner Paul McLeod, who has been called the world’s number one Elvis fan, has spent more than four decades collecting every conceivable item related to the King. He and his son, Elvis Presley McLeod, offer tours every day around the clock.

Faulkner fans flock to Oxford hoping to tap into what’s left of the Deep South and the Southern psyche. Downtown Oxford still looks like it did when Faulkner used it as a stage for his characters. The Nobel laureate was born in nearby New Albany and spent the last 32 years of his life here at Rowan Oak, a stereotypical antebellum home on the edge of the Ole Miss campus. The house has the rumpled appearance of the author, who wrote here such masterpieces as “Absalom, Absalom,” “Light in August,” “The Sound and the Fury,” and “Fable,” an outline of which scribbled in the author’ hand remains on the study wall. The university library’s Faulkner Room contains his Nobel Prize and some of his original manuscripts.

Mature Life Features, Copyright 2005

Written by Cecil Scaglione

November 25, 2013 at 7:35 am

A Day for Delays

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With the worst winter weather in years trampling all over England, we flew right into its maw, and paid the price. After getting from Bologna to Gatwick without incident – not even a 10-minute delay – on Tuesday, we stayed overnight in nearby Crawley and Bev got her pub-meal fix. Out taxi arrived about 7:30 a.m., a couple of hours after the snow began falling, and got us to Gatwick without delay. We noted how pretty southern England looks draped in white.

Pretty thoughts ended at the airport. The Virgin holding pen was crammed and jammed and under-manned. We were told the world’s largest/busiest single-runway airport had been closed for hours. Then it was announced that passengers on our 11:20 a.m. Las Vegas flight would be bused to Heathrow and the plane would take off at 1:30. Having given ourselves a four+-hour window when we booked USAir to San Diego, things still looked workable.  After milling and telling and listening to strained jokes for 2 1/2 hours, we were shredded into groups of 40 and marshaled down to minibuses, after we poured our luggage into vans that were supposed to follow us.

Now, mind you, it was snowing, but lightly, and it wasn’t cold. I grew up in northern Canada and my memory still works. The only reason we could surmise for closing down Gatwick was that no one ever ordered snowplows for the complex.

AT 1:30, we were told our 747 had not yet arrived from Las Vegas. So they gave each of us 5-pound vouchers “for the inconvenience” and suggested we all go grab some coffee somewhere. We’d all be checked in but no one was certain what gate would be used. We managed to get double vouchers because Bev and I went separate ways to find the source and each came back with our share. And we sat down with a healer from Australia who was heading to Barbados as the guest of a cancer patient she’s working with.

An airport announcement notified us of what gate to report to, where chunks of the group were picked at random to go through security again. And then they herded us onto buses to head to our airplane, which, we learned when we reached it, had just been emptied and the sanitation crew and security folks still had to sweep it clean. We sat in the buses for an hour.

Fortunately, it wasn’t a full plane so we passengers scrambled aboard in rather short order and, after de-icing the wings, unglitching a minor engine glitch, and standing in line for takeoff, we slid off the snow almost six hours late. Which slammed shut our window to our Las Vegas-San Diego flight. And there were no more USAir flights later in the day. ,

The10-hour flight was actually quite pleasant but our concern about getting home lowered our level of appreciation. After clearing customs and immigration at McCarran, we trolleyed our luggage to Terminal 1 and barreled into a Southwest counter. Explaining our position, the ticket agent said we were too late for the 7:35 flight, which was leaving in 20 minutes, but there was another at 8:55. Magnifico? So we called home and arranged for our pickup. Then we were told that a Reno flight had to use our gate first and our San Diego flight was delayed until 9:50. I fell asleep as soon as I sat down on it and didn’t awaken until the wheels bumped the tarmac at Lindbergh.

We got home at 11:20, about 26 hours after we awakened to head to Gatwick.

It was a grand trip but the return journey made us feel like we’d been riding planes and hanging around airports for the past two months.

San Diego smells fresh and oceany. And I’d forgotten how quiet it is here at home.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

January 14, 2010 at 3:23 am

Posted in Britain, Europe, Travel

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O Sole Mio

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Had a shoe problem almost immediately on our departure. I spent time and effort settling on an old pair of thick-rubber-soled Clarks that would be wear-on-the-airplane-and-walk-around-the-village-and-perhaps-leave-here pair. But didn’t want the following to happen.  The rubber apparently has been rotting over the years and the sole on the right shoe split open crossways in Las Vegas. So I went to the little all-kinds-of-stuff store off the Mandalay Bay lobby and bought some Krazy Glue. Jammed some of that stuff into the crack and it worked. As have subsequent applications to chunks of rubber trying to chip themselves off other parts of the sole and heel. So a quick lesson here: never leave home without duct tape and Krazy Glue

Written by Cecil Scaglione

November 19, 2009 at 5:26 am

Posted in Europe, Travel

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On the Brink

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Our luggage is enroute to Las Vegas with Ross. We’ll be the same tomorrow (Monday) afternoon. Bev’s looking forward to sharing some quiet moments with a casino machine and settling into a brightly lighted meal afterwards. I’ll sink my limit and then people-watch until it’s time to go to bed. We’ve arranged for Ross to bring back “laundry” – the clothes we wear on this first step of the trip.

Picked up a voltage converter for Peg Leon, for whom we also packed away a jar of peanut butter. She has an old printer and it needs a converter, which was smashed just a week ago when it tumbled onto the tile floor of her home in Paciano, a neighboring village about 3 ½ kilometers from Panicale. Picked up an all-purpose plug with a built-in surge protector for myself to use with the netbook. Had purchased a converter and grounded plug at Radio Shack with assurances from the staff that they would do everything I was asking: the converter serves the printer and the grounded plug works throughout Europe. Bev read packages at home and made it clear to me that the converter was for NON-ELECTRONIC appliances only and spelled out clearly it was not to be used with computers, telephones chargers, laptops, printers, etc. The grounded plug I bought was made for use throughout Europe EXCEPT Switzerland and Italy. No questions please, because I didn’t get any answers when I returned them. All I can tell you is that the round prongs on the Italian plug are “thinner” than those on the all-Europe type. Got the correct ones (replacing the grounded plug with the all purposes plug with surge protector) at a nearby travel-supplies store.

Niggles like these can gnaw at you when you’re on the road. Before our freighter trip. Bev went to multi troubles to make certain she had a phone that works anywhere in the universe. When she tried to make a call in Southampton, the port where we boarded the vessel, it didn’t work. So she called the service number and spent an hour or so chatting with a pleasant service technician and followed all instructions and it was working in Southampton. It never worked after that. Back home, we learned that the knothead who sold Bev the phone hadn’t opened a switch enabling international calls, which Bev made clear and emphasized as the priority when she bought the thing. Similar thing happened to friend of ours from Toronto when he spent a couple of weeks with us in Panicale. So you buy telephone cards.

Written by Cecil Scaglione

November 8, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Posted in Europe, Travel

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