The Elvis Presley Birthplace in Tupelo, Miss., has a pretty good slogan on its website that reads, in part, “We all know about the mansion called Graceland. We all know how it ended. This is how it began.” As an Elvis fan, long-ago part-time employee at Graceland and full-time Memphis resident, I know about the story of the king of rock ‘n’ roll. I traveled an hour and a half south of Memphis to Tupelo to learn more about how the story began.
Writing the above headline makes me think of the line from “Sweet Home Alabama” when Reese Witherspoon’s character says to an old high school friend, “You have a baby … in a bar!” Yes, we visited a casino with our 7-year-old son. We decided to drive south of Memphis to the Mississippi gaming community to discover if kid-friendly Tunica really does exist. We were only in Tunica County for a night, but it was long enough to have a little family fun at Gold Strike at MGM Resort.
As I type this, it’s 12:34 a.m. on the first night of a two-night stay in a cabin at the KOA campground near Starkville, Miss. I’m the only one awake, and I like it that way. My son is sound asleep on the futon couch behind me. My wife has fallen asleep reading in the bedroom. I’m sitting at the kitchen table with one of the music channels on the satellite TV blaring music just above my line of sight. At 12:35 a.m., this Sierra Nevada is still cold and as refreshing as ever. Life is good on this “camping” trip.