The Legacy Lives On...
Eddie & Elvis
Hall of Fame
Nobody Said "No" to Elvis
A Night at the Movies
Elvis' Little Friend
"No" to Elvis! NOBODY! -by Eddie
It has been said many, many times that no
one, and I mean NO ONE, not even the President of the United States, ever
turned down a request from Elvis Presley!
Well, yours truly here is
but one of many victims of Elvis' demands!
After a weekend of fun
and relaxation at our home in Waco with Elvis, his mother, Gladys, dad,
Vernon, and grandmother, Minnie Mae. I decided, as I usually did during
mid- week, to visit the Presley family in their rented home in nearby
Killeen, Texas. I always took something with me for Elvis and/or the
family . . . a gift, you know, as I never went over there empty
I knew Elvis liked the delicious banana-cream pies we
always had for him when he came to our home on weekends. En route to
Killeen, I stopped by the southern-famed diner, The Toddle House, and
purchased one banana-cream pie and one chocolate pie covered with real
whipped cream, to take to the Presley family.
Upon arrival at the
Presley-rented house in Killeen at about 2:30 pm, I was greeted at the
door by Gladys, who incidentally was always glad to see me and was so
gracious to me. She invited me inside, in true southern fashion with a
welcome most traditional in Central Texas.
Elvis had not arrived
home from the post (Fort Hood) at that time and Vernon was out running
errands. Grandma (or as Elvis pronounced it "Gramma") was in the kitchen
preparing dinner for Elvis. Gladys was dressed casually, as usual at home,
in cotton housecoat, a dainty small apron around her waist, and barefoot.
She wore a net over her carefully combed black hair. She insisted, "Sit
down, sit down, Eddie. Elvis ain't come home yet but he'll be home in a
bit." So, I accepted her generosity and sat down as she relaxed in her
rocking chair and began rocking intently. We chatted about various current
events and other small talk. She made it a point to tell me how much she
and Vernon appreciated their "home away from home" which we had provided
so generously for Elvis. "Elvis tells everybody how good you and Mrs.
Fadal have been to him," she continued.
After about an hour and a
half of "just visiting', Gladys heard Elvis pull up in the driveway.
"That's Elvis!" she cried and swiftly went to the door to welcome him home
for the day. After hugging him and getting a loving kiss from Elvis,
Gladys said to me, "Eddie, don't you leave now. You're gonna have to eat
with us." Of course, Elvis repeated the invitation.
It so happened,
I had already had a filling lunch at home before leaving for Killeen and
still felt stuffed. Elvis went into his room and changed from his military
fatigues into civilian garb. He came back into the living room and we
began to talk about this and that: his experiences at the post that day,
what had I been doing since he left our house Sunday night?, etc. etc.
Gladys retreated to the kitchen to help "Gramma". Vernon returned home and
joined the conversation. Then a call from the kitchen resounded throughout
"Y'all come on! Hurry up y'all! It's on the table and
getting cold, so y'all come on!" It was Gladys and Gramma joining voices
in unison summoning us to the table. I told Elvis I wasn't hungry, that I
had just eaten at home and for him and Vernon to go on to the kitchen and
I'd stay there in the living room and watch television while they were
eating. Elvis ordered, "Eddie, you come on and eat with us!" I said no
repeatedly, but "I thank you, I'm still full." Elvis went on to the
kitchen table but his mind was still set that I should eat with them.
"Come on, Eddie. I've got a chair for you right here next to me. Come,
come ON!" I was just as determined that I wouldn't join them as I wasn't
hungry. Elvis, Gladys, Vernon and Gramma continued in unison, "Now, Eddie,
we've eaten at your house and you gotta come eat with us." I remained
stubbornly seated watching TV. Then Elvis said loudly "I'm sending Red in
to bring you to the table. He's gonna bring you in here if he has to carry
you!" (Sorry, I forgot to mention that Red West was there visiting from
Memphis.) Then, suddenly and without further notice, big Red West rushed
in, boldly and bodily picked me up (like a baby) and delivered me to the
table at a chair next to Elvis.
What was I to do now? Elvis said
"Eat," and began to fill my plate with something I had never eaten before
and which I always imagined I didn't like. Curious what it was? Well, it
was sauerkraut and wieners of all things! I had never even tasted the
stuff and always had cringed at the sight of it in my junior high school
cafeteria. We had never had it at home and I thought I wouldn't like it;
wouldn't touch it with a 16-foot pole!
Elvis continued to insist.
"Eat. Eat, it's good!" Hesitantly, I took a small bite. To my surprise, I
liked it! I ended up eating two helpings! Then, after the meal, Elvis
said, "I'm gonna eat this whole banana-cream pie Eddie brought me and
y'all can have the chocolate one." That's what we did . . . and a merry
time was had by all!
The moral to this little story is, as I said
in the opening paragraph, "No one, and I mean NO ONE, not even the
President of the United States (or yours truly) could turn down Elvis
But there's more to this story. What happened after the
"sauerkraut and weiners" dinner will lovingly amuse and tantalize you!
After finishing all of the sauerkraut which Elvis had piled on my
plate, we all (Elvis, Vernon, Gladys, Minnie Mae, Red West and myself)
retired to the living room. I still couldn't believe I had eaten two large
helpings of the "stuff" I had always cringed at in the cafeteria at my
junior high school!
Elvis went straight to the piano which Elvis
had rented for the duration of his stay in Killeen. He began to play some
of the popular songs of the day . . . not any of his many million sellers!
He belted out other artists songs such as Connie Francis' "Who's Sorry
Now," and Fats Domino's "Blueberry Hill," and of course, "Happy, Happy
Birthday, Baby," by the Tune Weavers.
I was seated on a very comfy
lounge chair, close to Elvis and the piano. There were a couple of drum
sticks on an end table next to my chair, and also a tambourine. I grabbed
the drum sticks and began beating out the beat on the soles of my shoes!
Occasionally, I would take the tambourine and "pretend" that I knew what I
was doing! Elvis looked over and smiled his approval, so I continued
"acting" like a professional musician. What fun we were having as Gladys
and Vernon chimed in with harmony.
About that time, the doorbell
sounded and in strolled beautiful Anita Wood. In her hand was a ukulele .
. . and, needless to say . . . Anita joined our "ensemble". Elvis was
having a 'ball', stopping at times to laugh and chide our
But it was great! What an evening of fun and
fellowship in a home setting with the one and only, great ELVIS PRESLEY! I
couldn't believe it then and as I look back, it seems as though it was a
There I was . . . a nobody . . . musically grooving with
ELVIS, the brightest star on the horizon! What a memorable evening! He had
put aside his problems of the day and was totally relaxed . . . and happy!
Oh, that tape recorders and camcorders had been available then!
West eventually joined in with a pot-roast pan from the kitchen, upon
which he "thumped" and accompanied me in the "rhythm
MEMORIES . . . M-e-m-o-r-i-e-s . . . precious memories.
Oh, that we could relive them once again!
P.S. This story brings to
mind another one: A jam session at Graceland one night in 1958. A group of
Elvis' friends (all professional musicians), Johnny Cash, Boots Randolph,
Floyd Cramer, and of course, Elvis, had "SUCH A NIGHT!!!!!!", and I was
there too! But we'll save that story for another