I’ve talked about our early experiences with epilepsy in my previous two posts. My wife had no seizures during the time she was pregnant with our three children or any of the time between the pregnancies. About two years after our third child was born, my wife had another seizure. Almost a year later, she had another one. Like every other seizure she has had in her life, these occurred at night.
I talked my first experience with my wife having seizures in my previous post. She didn’t have any issues until the end of that year as we prepared to visit my mother-in-law in San Antonio. My wife and I had planned to travel with her brother and his wife to Little Rock, Arkansas on New Year’s Eve. We had booked a flight from there to San Antonio early on New Year’s Day.
When I was around 3 and 4 years old, there weren’t very many kids my age in the neighborhood that I could play with without crossing the street. When I would go outside and play, I had imaginary friends that I told my parents that I was playing with. Johnny and Gina were their names. My parents have told me that there was another friend that I talked about named Pokel. I don’t remember Pokel, but I suspect that he was some sort of horse character like Pokey on the Gumby show. I think the only time that Pokel made an appearance in my play was probably once when I had watched Gumby. When my parents would ask me who I was playing with, I would respond, “My imaginary playmates, Johnny and Gina.”
I have memories of doing this but I have no memory of what we exactly did. It seems like one time I went to visit their “house” and knocked on their door, which was actually just the backside of my Aunt Francis’ house which was next to our house. All our family and friends that lived in the neighborhood knew about Johnny and Gina. My sister was born when I was 4 and a half years old and she is named Gina. She is named after my imaginary friend.
Let me start out by saying that epilepsy is no laughing matter. It is a serious condition that is hard on the people who live with it and the people that live with them. I don’t share this story because epilepsy is funny. I share it because my reaction to it is funny.
I’ve had many people share with me their story about where they were when they found out that Elvis died. I’m sure that my story isn’t that much different from a lot of people who live relatively close to Memphis. Here’s my story.
I was walking back to the entertainment tent at Graceland when I saw 4 people from Brazil. I was in my Elvis Week element when I started talking to them and asking them about their visit. Only one of them had ever been to Graceland before. One of the men did most of the talking. He grabbed at the blue wristband on his arm and said, “I don’t like this.” I said I didn’t like it either. The wristband was a “Graceland Property Pass” that gave you access to various areas during Elvis Week. It was also the only way you could get to the Candlelight Vigil this year. The only way to get this pass was to purchase one of the tour packages. The minimum cost of one of these packages was nearly $30. This was a significant change for an event that has always been free. It didn’t affect us because we were already planning to tour the house and the new visitor’s center exhibits. But it was affecting our Brazilian friends because they were spending the week in Memphis for Elvis Week. They had done the tours and exhibits earlier in the week and had no reason to revisit them. Each of them purchased an additional $30 ticket just to do the candlelight vigil and they didn’t like it. These changes came up early in our conversations with most people and without me asking. Change has come to Graceland and the fans don’t like it.
I have made regular trips for several years to Graceland for Elvis Week in August. Graceland also has activities in January to celebrate Elvis’ birthday. I have never visited Graceland during his birthday celebration. They don’t have anything that goes on during his birthday celebration that compares to the Candlelight Vigil experience. It doesn’t attract as many people so it’s not an environment that seems to be as good for people watching. Still, many Elvis fans from around the world come to Memphis for his birthday. Several years ago, I had the opportunity to travel through Memphis on a Monday after Elvis’ birthday when it fell on a weekend.
My son never liked mowing the yard. During the last few years of being at home before he moved out on his own, mowing the yard became his responsibility. Even though it was his job, he still needed to be constantly reminded to do it. I had hoped that he would decide when it needed to be done and do it then but I ended up telling him when to do it. And I would usually let it go a little longer between mowing in hope that he would realize the need on his own. That never happened.
possibility of it getting cool while we were in Cleveland so I took a relatively heavy jacket on the trip. I was traveling with two men named Phillip and Todd. I don’t think either of them had checked the weather before they left home. Phillip had brought a light jacket. Todd was ready for spring and brought no jacket at all and only short sleeve shirts. The weather was warm in Cleveland on Tuesday when we arrived. But we were staying through Thursday and the weather was supposed to get cold before we left.
Singer, Songwriter, Entertainer, Storyteller