By M. Scott Morris
TUPELO – Mary Cobb celebrated her 67th birthday on Wednesday by singing “Happy Birthday” to Elvis Presley.
A New Albany resident, Cobb makes an annual Jan. 8 pilgrimage to the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum. Her cousin, Ruby Robertson, 65, of New Albany, said, “When we would fuss and argue when we were little, she’d say, ‘That’s right. You don’t have Elvis’ birthday.’”
“That’s true,” Cobb said.
Her birthday featured more than 100 well-wishers, even if the good wishes were meant for the King of Rock ’n’ Roll who was born 79 years ago.
Punch, coffee and three cakes were available, and Elvis’ music filled the air.
Robertson’s favorite is “Always on My Mind,” even if it’s sad. Cobb picked “(Hunka, Hunka) Burning Love,” then changed her answer after family members laughed. “‘Peace in the Valley’ is really my favorite,” she said. “I love to hear him sing that.”
Helen Brown, 51, and George Davis, 63, traveled from Northampton, England, to Memphis to Tupelo to join the festivities.
“We come to Memphis twice a year. It’s been 46 times for me,” Brown said. “He’s been five fewer.”
Years ago, the pair met Greg Spain, 53, a police officer from Decatur, Ill., who loves “Suspicious Minds.”
“We became friends,” Spain said. “We communicate throughout the year.”
“It’s all thanks to Elvis,” Davis said. “He brings people together.”
It costs about $1,200 to hop across the Atlantic Ocean. Some fans from Britain made the trip, but others couldn’t scrape the money together this time.
“Some can only afford it every five or 10 years,” Brown said, “so they’ll be here next year.”
Dick Guyton, executive director of the Elvis Presley Memorial Foundation, promised big things for 2015.
“That’s a secret,” he said.
Dominic Steinport, 12, of Columbus, made no secret of his love for Tupelo’s favorite son. He wore the Elvis jumpsuit he got for Christmas, even though he became a fan only two months ago.
“I inherited my grandmother’s records. I play them every day on the record player I’ve got,” he said. “I just love the music. I love the way he felt the music.”