September 11, 2023

Will Elvis Leave the Building for Good?

When the current elderly generation expires, will Elvis Impersonators be out of a job? 

The above question occurred to a friendly acquaintance and me, pretty much at the same moment the other evening, at a 50th wedding anniversary party we attended with our respective husbands. 

I was so tired. I had been away working all week and driven home in the dark the night before - an hour plus of scanning the road for wildlife with exhausted eyes and a throbbing head. When I got home my husband reminded me about the party, which was on our schedules for the next evening. "Noooo!" or maybe some curse words escaped my mouth. I can't remember. Cancelling was not really an option for this particular event, though. I decided not to think about the party, brushed my teeth, and fell into bed, sleeping hard all night.

The next morning I woke up, still tired. I managed a half-hearted shuffle around the lake, had lunch and then, a nap. The party was back down in the valley, and was to go from 4:30 to 9:00 pm. At least it won't be a late night, I told myself. The theme for the party was the 1970's, in honour of the decade our hosts were married in, and also, we found out later, the decade in which they saw Elvis live in Las Vegas for ten bucks a ticket (and that included two drinks! said our host, enthusiastically).We had been invited to wear costumes. 

We arrived at the venue and changed into our costumes in the truck. I went for a 'Rhoda from Mary Tyler Moore' look, while my husband wore fake leather pants and a polyester satin shirt for a 'disco sleezeball' look. We had found our costumes at Value Village a couple of weeks prior. While we began to get into the spirit of the event I knew we both needed a drink. We opted for rum and cokes. We both needed the caffeine boost. 

The majority of the crowd were elderly peers of our hosts, but a small group of 50-somethings and assorted younger relatives rounded out the group. After drinks and mingling to the best of our ability (I admit to sitting down and posting photos on my phone after an hour of standing around making small talk), dinner was served. Our small table of four shared a bottle of wine and waited our turn at the buffet.

The evening's entertainment began after dinner. A local Elvis impersonator in a gold jacket entered the room and began his performance. While our table had misgivings about what to expect, none of us being Elvis fans, we soon had to admit our entertainer was a pro. He soon had the room singing along with the golden oldies, and a few couples, including the anniversary couple, got up to dance in the old way. 'Elvis' sang well and interspersed his Elvis material with some Neil Diamond. Roy Orbison, and Louis Armstrong, but it was his rendition of CCR's 'Proud Mary' that got us 50-something women on the dance floor. The alcohol and food had worked its magic and energized me briefly. A couple of spry older women were inspired to join us. The elderly folks unable to dance themselves, enjoyed watching us. We became part of the entertainment. 

After the cake, made to replicate the original two-tiered wedding cake, was served, my husband and I said our goodbyes. As we made our way through the crowd after stopping at the head table, an elderly woman grabbed my hand. "You all looked great!" she said, smiling widely. I covered her hand with both of mine, holding them for a moment, and said thank you. It made me glad to know she'd enjoyed herself so much.

The party, although I had approached it that night with a 'grin and bear it' kind of attitude, ended up being fun. I observed and appreciated how the Elvis impersonator had figured out his evolving audience needed more than the dated Elvis material (sorry, fans) to be entertained. In fact, he didn't really sound much like the original Elvis to me, just did his hair like him, danced a bit like him, and drove a pink 1970's Cadillac. He told us he was going to be performing at a big classic car show the next day. 

I also concluded I am very much in favour of parties starting early and ending at 9 pm, especially when the drive home is over an hour on a dark, curvy mountain highway. 

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