Thirty-five years ago today, Elvis died. Do you remember where you were when you heard? I had been on a week-long canoeing trip and we had just spent the night at a fishing lodge somewhere on the French River in Ontario. It had been an interesting and, in some respects, grueling experience. It was a camp trip and I was 14. It had poured rain the day before, we’d manouvered our canoes through a shallow rapids, we’d run out of food and then our ride didn’t show up to pick us up. The fishing lodge kindly let almost 20 girls and counselors sleep on the floor of one of their rooms. The next morning while we were enjoying a hearty lodge breakfast, in the way that teenagers who’d been out in the woods for a week can only do, we heard the announcement on the radio.
I didn’t cry. I’m not the crying type and don’t cry over the deaths of people I’ve never met. But some did. For many of the girls it was the first experience with the death of an icon. Since then, there’s been too many of those moments. The Challenger explosion, Princess Diana, 9-11, Michael Jackson and more. Moments when the world, it seems, stops and mourns as one.
Now it’s 35 years later, and I could swear I saw Elvis not too long ago, driving a minivan, here in Abbotsford, BC.