Saturday, November 4, 2006

Elvis, Ribs, and John's Taxi

Yesterday some friends and I skipped the afternoon session of CAMWS and headed for Graceland. After lunching on Elvis's favorite sandwich (fried banana and peanut butter) we climbed on the shuttle bus with the other pilgrims for the economy tour of the hero's shrine.

There was plenty there to sneer at (if you wanted to) in terms of tackiness, kitsch, and just flat-out bad taste, but I found that I kind of liked the house, and would certainly have enjoyed living in it when I was a kid in the 70's. In fact it seemed to me like it had been decorated by a kid who was decorating just to please himself and his friends.

Though I've never been a huge fan of The King, I left Graceland with a real affection for the sweetness and simplicity of his personality. As Ed Sullivan said, "this is a real nice, good boy."

Afterwards, a friend and I hired John's Taxi to go out for ribs. The taxi ride was better than the ribs; it turned out that John the taxi driver is John Baker, who ran in the 1994 Tennessee Republican primary against Fred Thompson and lost, though he got 35% of the vote. and won east Tennessee.

He told us some good stories about Fred and about Tennessee politics, but it would be unseemly to repeat them.

The ribs at Rendezvous were disappointing. Maybe I just don't like the dry-rub style of cooking them, but they were dry and a bit tough, though the rub spices were tasty.

But that's OK; the ribs were just the background to dinner with an old friend, a great scholar and a superb conversationalist, who occasionally writes reviews for the Weekly Standard, even though he's a thorough Democrat.

After that, another taxi ride with John back to the hotel.

A good day.


Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to seeing Graceland myself when my stepsister gets married in Memphis next May. (Her fiance looks a great deal like the young Elvis, but that's just coincidence.) Meantime, if you get any other recommendations for rib joints, by all means please pass them on.

David Wharton said...

Some of the locals told me they like to go to Corky's.