The King

This time You gave me a Mountain


It was a scorching Texas summer afternoon and I was in the pool. The water cold,

taking the edge off what might turn into a tan once the sunburn healed…that never happened to me. Music was playing on the stereo on my balcony-three floors up. My bathing suit was orange velour-one piece with high neck with a gold zipper with a heart-shaped pull, extending from the neckline to the waist.


It was uncommon to have an afternoon off in August. That was the second busiest season of the year for an apartment manager in a college town. My boys splashed in the shallow end of the pool while I floated on my back in deeper water.


The radio disc jockey broke in to the song and in the background Elvis crooned a sad ballad.

“This time Lord You gave me a Mountain”…then the collective breaths in the pool and poolside

cried,” No!”

My chest tightened and a lump formed in my throat as burning tears flooded my eyes.

Just like that the King of Rock and Roll was gone.  

I was twenty-nine years old when he died on the floor of his bathroom that night in Tennessee.

It does not matter how many years have passed since the afternoon in the pool when for a moment my world stopped spinning, I stopped hearing and could not see through tear-filled eyes. I have lived more

years since that day than the number of years I was alive on that day.

 When I listen to the radio now, mostly it is to hear the old songs, the songs that shaped my thoughts on life and love…

I still listen to the King and every now and then I feel the lump start in my throat and the tears in my eyes.


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