Elvis is everywhere. But where two or more fans are gathered, devoted to his memory, weird manifestations are possible.
Some years ago I bought a pair of black leather pants in an after-Christmas sale, even though the fit was suspect. I found one dry cleaner in Roanoke, Virginia, where the seamstress willingly altered leather. As I stood balancing on the stool with the small woman at my seams, I heard her mumble something through pins that sounded like it contained the word "Elvis." As everyone knows, this word, along with "Jesus" and "Coke," is one of the best known English words in the world.
"What did you say?" I asked, without taking a breath. I did not want to disturb the line of pins taking shape from my hips to my ankles. In fact, I was probably obliged to hold my breath to achieve the desired effect. The black pants had to look poured on or they would prove a bad investment.
"I said I do all of the Elvis Lady's pants."
"Kim Epperly. The Elvis Lady. I thought you'd know her, with the leather and all that."
Believing me ripe for the pilgrimage, the seamstress gave me directions to a local shrine called Miniature Graceland. Built by Kim and her husband, Don Epperly, who suffers from MS yet still manages to construct detailed models, the exhibit now includes Elvis's childhood...