By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
If I could die right now – right now – I’d die to bring that guy back.”
– Paul MacLeod on Elvis Presley
Let me begin this column by stating this fact: Paul MacLeod is alive. Well, I assume he is. I haven’t checked on him since last Monday, but in cases like this, no news is good news.
Late last Monday night, rumors spread on Twitter and Facebook that the Graceland Too owner had gone the way of the doornail, fell off his perch, bought the farm, kicked the bucket, bit the big one.
No one knows who started the rumor, but it spread quickly and had a lot of folks upset.
Even though reporters like myself and the Oxford Eagle’s Melanie Addington did our best to squash the rumor – and Addington even went to Graceland Too to see him with her own eyes – some folks still believe he’s dead.
These mistaken mourners believe they’ve missed their chance to take the oddest tour in North Mississippi; others, who’ve toured Graceland Too enough to become a lifetime member, mourn the man himself. And what a man to mourn.
MacLeod owns Graceland Too, a mansion in Holly Springs dedicated to everything Elvis Presley. Literally every surface of every room is covered in Elvis: there are Elvis rugs, Elvis blankets, Elvis curtains, Elvis cut-outs, Elvis posters, Elvis records, Elvis dolls, Elvis phones and Elvis plates on the floors, walls and ceilings.
MacLeod gives tours of his house for $5, 24/7.
On those tours, you aren’t going to learn about Elvis or see rare collectibles.
You’re paying to spend time with MacLeod and his gray hair, styled as closely to Elvis’ as he can muster; his dentures that constantly try to flee his mouth; and his 90-mile-an-hour talk that includes everything from Elvis facts to exaggerations to filthy jokes that should make you blush, if your mama raised you right.
He barely sleeps and says he lives on a case of Coke a day. That sounds unbelievable, but then again, it’s hard to be sure with a man like MacLeod.
He isn’t a spring chicken, either: about two years ago, he told me he was 69, but he told a Daily Mississippian reporter that same age a month ago.
With a lifestyle like that, and at his age – which I’m going to guess is older than 69 – it’s a wonder we still have MacLeod offering tours each day.
Not many folks could live like that, but then again, not many folks are Paul MacLeod. For now, though, he’s still alive and kicking, giving tours and giving tourists something to write home about.
So that’s the moral of this story, kids: don’t believe everything you read on the Internet.
After all, as Elvis himself proved, legends never die.