As soon as I land in the South something happens to me. Before I even speak, I notice that my thoughts are suddenly coming through with a Southern accent. It’s bizarre and I can’t explain it. Now this was completely a work trip, I land and one of my favorite customers picks me up from the airport. I knew we had BBQ and blues on the agenda for the evening before our meetings in the morning…but there was a surprise in store for me.
I was so excited I couldn’t even believe we were going! And at the absolute best time, off season, the last tour of the day, it wasn’t crowded at all. First of all, Graceland is actually quite beautiful, I think maybe I thought it would be cheesy or overdone but it really was not. The grounds were immaculate and the house quite modest for someone of Elvis’ social status (and audacious fashion sense). The jungle room and his TV/bar room downstairs were a bit ridiculous but I mean, basically a man-cave by today’s standards. What I did not know is that the family still uses the top floor and they have dinners at the dining room (which is downstairs). So you can really only see the ground floor, basement and grounds. Oh, and his cars (you can see his planes too but we skipped them)…his cars are just so incredible!!! Also, I learned a few things about Elvis and have a new found respect for the man who was Taking Care of Business. TCB.
Next stop Beale Street. I was a little surprised when I saw folks carrying giant open beers walking down the street. But no open container law as long as you are on Beale Street and live music in every single place. We headed into B.B. King’s for BBQ and blues of course! I am not the biggest BBQ person, it’s a lot of meat and I tend to be more of a fruits and veggies girl…I’m not a vegetarian, it’s just not my favorite food. And ribs have never been my thing, but when in Rome… Yea, I ate BBQ and listened to the Blues and I LOVED it.
Then down the street, which seemed a little Bourbon Streety and a lot of the places, just too touristy for me. We walked the entire street until I settled on the Blues Hall, the last Real Juke Joint. Now I had never even heard the term “juke joint” but this place seemed like the real deal. It seemed to have more locals than tourists and the band was unreal. It was also the only place that had a woman performing and she had PIPES. She did a cover of Prince’s Purple Rain that brought down the house. My only complaint…cigarette smoke. I couldn’t last and I wanted to run on the river in the morning, so it was an early night.
I had planned to run solo but Chuck said that Memphis can be dangerous, honestly, he’s from Tennessee so I took his word for it but I didn’t see anything alarming. We did a nice easy run along the water, actually knocked out some work and then took off on our road trip to Nashville. More about Tennessee to come…