Thursday, July 24, 2014
A ‘must visit often’ place for many
The east end of Gholson had a flurry of excitement last week, beginning Tuesday night. I received a call mid-evening from Caitlyn, telling me Mr. Paul (MacLeod) shot someone attempting to break in Graceland Too. I scooped up my inquisitive friend and we headed over there. The street was taped off, there were emergency vehicles everywhere and only a handful of people at best. It was all very strange, especially seeing Paul sitting in a patrol car. Sad as it was someone died, Paul did what he had to do to protect himself and his home.
Sadly two days later, crime scene tape was up again, as Paul was found dead in his rocking chair on the porch of his beloved shrine to Elvis, Graceland Too.
When we were in high school and college, Graceland, Too, was a “must visit often” site in Holly Springs. I have been a lifetime member my entire adult life, as have been the majority of people I know. It was a thrill for all of us to go over there late at night and go inside for the tour. Paul would mix up the tours every now and then, but always wound up in the kitchen serenading along with Elvis blaring from the speakers. The going joke was Paul’s teeth clanking as he sang, but I must give it to him – he was not half bad!
The room I believe to have been his favorite is the one which houses pictures and fan letters from those who had toured his home. He enjoyed sharing his adoration and love of Elvis with everyone, especially those who also shared the common interest. I can only hope he knew people not only went to Graceland Too for knowledge about Elvis, they went to see and visit with him.
Paul was a very eccentric man, complex on many levels. You would never know what color he would be painting the house, as well as all of the accessories around it outside. As angry as most of us would get at his total disregard for city ordinances, it was entertainment. It was also an extension of Paul. He was far from a conformist, doing oddball things every so often to prove that true. What is a town without characters such as Paul?
A discussion was had the other night while sitting on the porch at Graceland Too, about it being the biggest tourist draw in Holly Springs. Although we have the pilgrimage and the hummingbird festival, those two events only occur once a year over a weekend.
Paul opened his doors every day, all day, to anyone who wanted a tour. Late night, if you passed through there, the streets were often crowded with cars touting Ole Miss student stickers, buses and van loads of people. So yes, my friends, I do believe Graceland Too to be the largest tourism draw we have here in our little piece of paradise.
Phillip Knecht, attorney for Paul, has done a tremendous job in handling the media frenzy following Paul’s untimely death. He is constantly working on fresh ideas to keep Paul’s legacy alive, even though Paul is not. I drove by really late Monday night and saw candles lit all around the fence line, which is also lined with Coke bottles, a staple good for Paul. I stopped and joined a trio who had converged on the front porch. Although it was, I must admit, sort of creepy being on the porch where someone died, it was also calming. It was fun to sit and reminisce about Paul and days of touring Graceland Too. If you are out at night and see the candles lit, do not just rubberneck and continue driving. Stop and join whomever is on the porch. There is no telling who you may see.
Tuesday, August 12, there will be an all-day event at Graceland, Too. It will be to honor Paul and his memory, as well as his lifelong dedication to the King. Collecting for years was not just a job for Paul, it was his life’s work. That was proven as soon as you stepped through the threshold and he began to tell you all about Elvis. No matter how many times he gave tours, he was always just as excited as if it were his first group of people.
Please make plans to attend the memorial for him. It is sure to be an event you will always remember. Paul has left the building and hopefully was greeted at the pearly gates of Heaven by his idol, Elvis Presley.
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Hannah McNeill to wed Chase Williams October 25
Robin McNeill and Ken McNeill are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Hannah Grace McNeill, to Chase Howard Williams, son of Billy Williams of Brandon, and Caren Williams of Madison.
The bride-elect is the granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. James Robert Holbrook of Holly Springs, and Patricia McNeill and the late Phillip McNeill of Hot Springs, Ark.
Hannah is a 2004 graduate of Marshall Academy. She received her degree in elementary education in 2010. She works for Trustmark National Bank in Ridgeland, as a private/commercial banker.
The prospective bridegroom is the grandson of Ann Bryant and the late Wiley Randal Bryant of Clinton, and Kay Douglas Williams and the late John Hulon Williams of Clinton.
Chase is a 2005 graduate of Clinton High School. He received his business degree in 2009. The groom is a fourth generation owner in his family business, Douglas Express Delivery in Jackson, acting as chief operating officer.
The couple will exchange vows October 25, 2014 at Lake Caroline in Madison, with a reception to follow.
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