I realize that the job of words is to describe things, but sometimes there just aren’t enough words to describe seeing nuns and senior citizens in wheelchairs dirty dancing with an Elvis impersonator on a sunny Saturday afternoon in September.
However, I will try in the latest “Senior Moments” installment. (The others can be found somewhere in here.)
This past weekend was the annual community carnival at the old people’s place. The term “carnival” is a bit of a stretch, but they fill the huge parking lot and yard with booths of games for the kids, a very modest petting zoo, a bounce house (for the kids, not the seniors) and carts/tables of food, ice cream and drinks donated by local businesses.
Gram was having one of her good days, so mom and I wheeled her outside to mingle among the residents, employees and their families, goats, nuns wearing bright green “St. Ann’s Carnival 2012” T-shirts over their habits and…Elvis.
Elvis had left the building and set up shop on the makeshift stage. He was the real deal, resplendent in a white jumpsuit bedazzled with gold and silver gleaming in the late afternoon sun. His black hair hardly moved when the gentle breeze blew, and his sideburns accented his exposed chest hair of a similar hue.
While many of those in the audience were aware that this wasn’t in fact the real Elvis, there was one senior friend who informed the Hunka Hunka Burning Love that she saw him in concert in 1957 and threw her panties on stage.
We were all just relieved that she didn’t try and recreate that moment.
Elvis was actually awesome, although with his gyrating hips and plethora of “silk” scarves to give out to the ladies, I think at times he forgot that he was working a crowd of senior citizens, children and nuns.
One nun who had recently celebrated her 60th anniversary of sisterhood joined Elvis on stage for a rousing rendition of “Little Sister,”— dancing like she had been into the holy wine a wee bit too much — while Sister Judith grabbed the microphone stand and proceeded to dip left and right, a back-up singer to the King and the Lord for “Devil In Disguise.”
When Elvis made his way towards Gram for a song, she joined in signing and dancing in her chair while the King placed a scarf around her neck. When asked later by a friend about this budding romance, she replied, “He’s got business to take care of and I’m too tired right now. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be up for some fun yet tonight.”
He continued making the rounds as each song came over the speakers, changing the words to fit the situation at times —“I really want one of those hot dogs” (sung to “You Ain’t Nothing But a Hound Dog”)—while the nuns continued to dance in the grass.
Add in a middle-aged woman who apparently thought she was at a karaoke bar after last call, an old guy who yelled, “what the hell are you doing?” when the microphone was thrust in his face and a dog dragging his ass across the grass in front of the stage, and that pretty much sums up the moment.
So as Elvis finished his rendition of “Rolling Down to St. Ann’s,” that’s just what we did, rolling Gram back inside to the dining room to trade in her scarf for a “clothing protector” and food.
She is, after all, still the Queen.
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