I had many once-in-a-lifetime moments growing up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
There was the afternoon my father was in the front yard, working in his rose garden and I was sitting at the piano, memorizing Chopin’s Revolutionary Etude.
Daddy came inside to tell me J.E. Brown was outside with some hippie-looking guy and they wanted to see me. At that time, J.E. (later known as Jim Ed, a popular country singer) and I were “just friends” but several years later,
we dated seriously. (J.E. even gave me the gift of a beautiful French Poodle named Pierre.)
Walking outside, I was delighted to see J.E. and his friend. Both were
standing by a large motorcycle, an expensive Harley, decked-out with shiny chrome and lots of black leather fringe.
J.E.’s friend was good-looking in a different
sort of way ---- tight leather pants, black combat boots, greased-back long hair and thick sideburns. He had a pouty mouth which I found very tempting, to say the least. A guy with that look, especially in Pine Bluff, was considered “suspicious”
especially if he was riding a motorcycle. (Even today, I love motorcycles and remain fascinated with those who ride them.)
J.E. said his friend
had ridden his bike from Memphis because later that evening, he was performing at Watson Chapel, a small community on the outskirts of Pine Bluff. When I stepped closer to the bike for a better look, J.E.’s friend asked if I’d
like to “take a ride.”
Before I could answer, my father said “Boy, I don’t trust the way you’re dressed and I don’t like motorcycles
but I do have faith in J.E. If he says you’re alright, I’ll go with that. If Sally wants to take a short ride I won’t interfere but, I warn you: She’s precious cargo and you better get her back here in thirty minutes, do you understand?”
I climbed on the bike behind J.E.’s friend, put my arms around his mid-section and held on tight. We had begun pulling out of the driveway when
my father yelled, “Fellow, just in case I need to come looking for you-- what’s your name?”
Circling back, the biker pulled up next to my
father, extended his hand and said, “Sir, my name is Elvis Presley.”