I was a summer missionary in the summer of 1977, and August 16, a Wednesday, was our team's last day in the last church we would visit during that summer.
I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing on two specific occasions: when JFK died (riding home from Gordon Grammar School in the back seat of Mrs. House's 1953 Plymouth) and August 16, 1977.
Mama and Daddy had brought my car, a 1970 fire-engine red Impala, to me the night before. I came back from an activity that afternoon and showered. When I got out, my partner, Fred O. Pitts (Fred-O), was waiting.
"Roscoe," he started, "the King is dead."
I didn't have to ask who he was talking about and he didn't have to tell me. He knew I loved Elvis. I talked, sang, and acted like him constantly. Fred-O wanted to be the one to tell me.
In disbelief I drove down to the 7-11 to get an Atlanta Journal, which was then published in the afternoon (the Atlanta Constitution was the morning paper). I knew it was true when I saw the "Blue Streak" edition of the Journal, only published under special circumstances. The headline told me the same thing Fred-O had: "THE KING IS DEAD". I still have the paper. The Memphis Commercial-Appeal said it best: "A Lonely Life Ends on Elvis Presley Boulevard".
I had seen Elvis in concert at the Macon Coliseum less that two months earlier. He was wearing the same powder-blue suit they would bury him in. I was shocked at his appearance and told my date, "He won't last six months." He didn't.
This week I'll be sharing my favorite memories of Elvis. I grew up with him, and, like most Southern boys, dreamed of being who he was: good-looking, talented, and rich.
Two out of three ain't bad.