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On Sunny Lane: Elvis Is Still in the Building

As long as there is an impersonator in the house, Elvis Presley will never leave the building.

I was never a big Elvis fan. To me, he was just another rock and roll singer. I liked some of his songs and I even went to a couple of his movies with friends when I was a teenager.

However, I never screamed, or cried or swooned when he came on the television or movie screen. And I never went to any of his concerts. In fact, I never went to any concerts when I was a teenager. I just went to the dances where the disc jockey spun the records.

Sweetheart and I had an opportunity to see an impersonator recently, so we took it. The event was sponsored by a philanthropic organization in the area and we thought it would be a fun night out. Besides, we would be sitting at a table with several friends.

The event wasn't limited to the impersonator's performance. Tables were lined with baskets of prizes for a Chinese auction. Food and snacks were available for our enjoyment.

There were people there of all ages. Of course, lots of Baby Boomers were there, but I was surprised to see young people there--even pre-adolescents! It's hard to believe that Elvis' spirit lives on 45 years after his passing. I don't know of any other singer or celebrity who has been immortalized like he has.

Now, I have seen Elvis impersonators before. They could sing; they could make themselves up to look like Elvis and they could imitate his movements, but they didn't come close to grasping the essence of the man.

The fellow we saw a couple of weeks ago outclassed the other ones I saw by leaps and bounds.

He was a natural. He sang it the way Elvis sang it. Or, at least, he sang the way I remember Elvis sang. And he swung his hips the way I recall. He put everything he had into it.

He has made his impersonation an art form. He was an artist in his own right. No offense to Elvis lovers out there, but I believe he was better than Elvis.

I began to wonder how successful this man would be if he ventured out with his own voice and his own style. Would he become famous, as some singing artists have? Would he fill up a room with adoring fans?

Would he be as good if he was himself, instead of acting like someone else? Is he afraid that he wouldn't be good at being himself? Or, is imitation his area of expertise? I think it's always best to be yourself, unless you can be somebody better.

I was wondering these things at the end of the evening, as the emcee announced that certain people sitting at each table were winners of the centerpiece.

Great job! I went home with a pot full of pansies! I planted them the next day. They are not imitations, either. They are the real thing.

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