Sep. 4, 2019



I had many pleasant and sometimes-shocking moments--growing up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

For Instance, 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 the time, J.E. (later known as Jim Ed, a popular country singer) and I were “just friends” but several years later, we seriously dated. (J.E. 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—with tight leather pants, black combat boots, greased-back long hair and thick sideburns. He had a pouty mouth which I found extremely-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 moved 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 just 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.”