The blood rushed to my head and I could feel myself blushing as Grandma blurted out to Elvis, "Oh, you have no idea how many days he would come home from school having been in fights to defend you!"
Geez, I was thirteen years old and felt even dumber and more awkward than I really was if that was possible.
"I'll teach you something to take care of that," Elvis grinned.
"Karate?" I asked.
Well, I had no idea what karate really was. I only knew the term because I had read so much about Elvis' fascination with the sport. I had some idea that it had to do with judo.
He never mentioned the offer when I saw him over the next month or so. I never thought of it as a real offer. We had strolled up that day as Elvis lounged out by Colonel Parker's bungalow at Port Paradise in Crystal River. That's one of the Colonel's granddaughters off to the right in the little snapshot that I took that day. I have read that photos of the Colonel in short sleeves are rare. That must make mine extremely rare, huh?
As we sat around and chatted Elvis' moods seemed to roller coaster regularly. Oh, he was always friendly, always sweet but you could see lonely wash up regularly. I'm only just beginning to understand that it's the lonely that connects us. Not me and Elvis, all of us.
My naive suggestion: love as hard as you can. That's all you have.