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The road not taken might never come around again

Posted: July 27, 2014 - 12:17am

My road not taken runs from Oxford, Miss. to Holly Springs. I will live a lifetime of regret for driving east instead of north just two Julys past. No greater error in judgment have I ever made.

I knew at the time, when I up and let my family persuade me not to turn, that it was a grave mistake. Oh, how the course of my life might have been different had I only insisted on the excursion into the unknown, had I taken the road less traveled to Paul McLeod’s Graceland Too.

“You might fall through the floor,” my brother warned. “But if you want to go, I’ll tell you how to get there. He’ll probably show you his guns. They’re nothing you haven’t seen before. Act impressed anyway.”

My brother and his cronies had made many a late night drive to Holly Springs. There was always something at Graceland Too that hadn’t been spotted on a previous foray to McLeod’s house stuffed with an assortment of Elvis memorabilia. He packed it with the kind of Elvis items Memphis’s Graceland sells knowing the stuff will sift through society and reconvene at another, less grand location. McLeod proudly named his home, which isn’t much bigger than the King’s Tupelo birthplace, Graceland Too and invited the public to tour it any time of the day or night any day of the year.

Knock and the door shall be opened up to you, for free, at 3 a.m., 3 p.m., or any hour in between.

I wanted to view that assemblage of Elvis ephemera and run my fingers through the dust. I wanted to bask in the atmosphere of the midnight visit. I wanted to risk falling through the floor. I wanted to take that road. My husband and children did not. ”Really, Lucy?” my husband said. “We’ve driven over 2,000 miles and you want to add another two hours to it so you can ogle an old guy’s hording habit?”

I gave in and agreed that we would stick to the straight and narrow east-bound Interstate. I would go the next time I perchanced to be in Mississippi.

Ah, but forbidden highways vaporize without warning. Last week, a fellow bolder than I took the road not traveled and knocked upon the door. As my brother had promised, McLeod showed the nighttime visitor his .45-caliber while shooting the guy in the chest in alleged self-defense. At first I mused that the blood stain on the floor inside the front door might add to the aura of the tour should I ever get to take it. Then I got to worrying that the unfortunate matter of that man’s death might put a damper on the shebang.

McLeod must have gotten to thinking the same thing. Two days later he keeled over on the front porch. Natural causes the authorities declared. Stress they said.

Now that the owner of Graceland Too is knock-knock-knocking on Heaven’s door, he won’t be home to answer the knock of my earthly need to get a gander at his multi-room collection of Elvis knick-knacks, doo-dads and what-nots. The dignified thing to do would be to plan an excursion to the pending estate sale. Instead, I’m lamenting missed opportunities, paths passed by, weedy ways not wandered, all the places I didn’t go. Why, why, why did I not visit Graceland Too when I had the chance?

“You mighta got shot,” my sister said.

I mighta fallen through the floor, too. Maybe those are the kinds of life-changing things that happen on the road less traveled. Alas, I will never know.

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