Christmas in the Deep South is colder than I once promised a certain someone, to lure him into moving here. Much colder. And without the charm of a light dusting of snow to get you in the spirit. For a secular humanist, I do try. But even with a tree dancing with ornaments in the front room, our house is lacking in Christmas tradition.
This Christmaslessness has a history. Byrne and Duncan, both Jewish, lived here since 1969. When I lived with her, after Duncan died, the most Yuletide-y it got around here was the Nutcracker ballet. Which, frankly, we both hated and suffered through simply to keep the Byrne Miller Dance Theatre in the black.
So heading deeper south to ring in the season made as much sense as sitting around Beaufort waiting for it to snow. Winter is a great road trip season, if you don’t mind plenty of parking (and free) in every town. In 2,000 miles we didn’t run into any other tourists, except for a young couple from Vienna. So we had Elvis to ourselves.
His birthplace, that is. Worlds away from the tourist-mecca of Graceland is the two room wood house in Tupelo that started it all. A mile up the main drag is the hardware store (still a hardware store) where his mother talked him out of a rifle and bought him his first guitar instead.
The house is surrounded by a museum now, and a fancy park. But it’s the stark reality of seeing the humble beginnings of a star that made this visit the best way to get into the spirit.
I think I’ll go put on my Elvis sings Christmas CD – glad to be home by Christmas afterall.