Can't Help Falling for Graceland

(Mark Humphrey - AP)
By Tony Kornheiser
Monday, August 21, 2006

So here we are in Shreveport, La., for tonight's game with the Cowboys and Saints. Shreveport is the last stop on a bus trip that began over 1,000 miles ago in Minneapolis, stopped in St. Louis, continued through Memphis, where I dallied in front of Graceland (more on that in a second), then went on to the Saints' training camp in Jackson, Miss., and ended here.

(I bet nobody at my bar mitzvah ever thought I'd end up spending consecutive nights in Jackson, Miss., and Shreveport, La. Tough towns to get flanken.)

Getting back to Graceland, those of you, like me, who've never seen it except in pictures and only imagine it through Paul Simon's pilgrimage song, assume it's a house in a neighborhood of houses. But in fact it's the only house for miles on a busy four-lane commercial boulevard. Next door on one side, if I remember correctly, is a law office and next door on the other side is, I think, a Wendy's. (Imagine Britney Spears building a McMansion on Rockville Pike right next to the Dave and Buster's.)

And the house isn't even that big. It must have seemed so grand to Elvis 40 or 45 years ago, but now, even with the famous gate with the musical notes and the expansive driveway and lawn, it sort of looks like the kind of house your accountant might buy after a particularly good year cookin' the books. Still, I'm utterly thrilled that I saw it, like I was when I saw the Alamo.

By the way, people in Washington like to complain about how hot and humid it is in July and August. Let me tell you something, boys and girls, it was 104 degrees when we got off the bus in Shreveport at 7 p.m. Saturday. Yep, 104/7:00. It is Indonesia hot in this part of the country. But, of course, it's very easy to tolerate because there's no humidity, hahaha. If you were walking with a snow cone in your hand, after 50 feet all you'd have in your hand is a sticky piece of stained paper. Last night at 8, the water in the hotel's pool was 87 degrees. Where I come from, that's called a hot bath.

The really great news is that there's an open-air press box for tonight's game. Look carefully at the set. I'll be the one shvitzing like an Airedale.

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