Yes, today is the 75th anniversary of Elvis Presley's birth. He was 42 when he died and he has now been dead for 33 years. And yet, he lives in the hearts of fans around the world, even many who were not born when he was alive or were too young to be aware of him then.
I remember the first time I ever heard of Elvis Presley. I was walking along a dusty country road in Northeast Mississippi with my father. We had walked to the local store and now we were walking home. We came upon a neighbor of ours, a young man named Junior Johnson, who was also walking along the road.
Junior was a guitar player. He played with local bands and he started talking excitedly to my dad about a gig he had played in Booneville, Mississippi recently with someone with the weird name of Elvis. I was pretty young at the time, but Junior's excitement was palpable and contagious and it made an impression on me. I remembered it later when we started hearing more about this Elvis person and it became clear, even to a child, that he was going to be more than just a local phenom. Of course, we couldn't have guessed how much more.
On the occasion of his 75th birthday, our local newspaper, The Houston Chronicle, listed "75 facts that you didn't know about Elvis." The fact that jumped out at me was that Elvis preferred sponge baths. A strange preference, but I think I understand why.
Elvis spent his early years living very poor in Northeast Mississippi. In his world, the only baths available to him were sponge baths or swimming in a creek somewhere. Sponge baths probably represented a comfort of childhood to him even in his later years.
I took a lot of sponge baths in my early years, too. I soon learned to prefer long, luxurious, hot, tub baths. But then I didn't need to hold on to that bit from my childhood. Maybe Elvis did.