We couldn’t help ourselves. The gravitational pull was too great, the appeal too large to resist. The joy it previously brought to our family was so beguilingly tempting that we were compelled to attempt a repeat, particularly since our children are still at that teetering age where they think we are laughing with them and not at them.
(Oh, how I kid. We don’t snicker at them behind their backs. We totally do it out in the open.)
Packed methodically and so carefully into our suitcases, like the finest of vinyl china, the Elvis jumpsuits survived baggage handlers to make their debut at the Not So Scary Halloween Party held at Magic Kingdom. Black hair spray, glittery golden scarves, and more fringe than the law should allow magically transformed our children from Walt Disney World tourists to pint-sized versions of the king.
Strutting through the main entrance with as much cool as available to adolescents, our trio impersonated quite well the aurora of Elvis Presley and delighted in the immediate spotlight. Cast members flocked their way and Disney characters sought them out, an ironic role reversal from the previous day’s experiences. “Who’s your daddy now,” I heard Chase smirk under his breath, after giving yet another high five to a Disney Princess, this time a smiling Cinderella, who had snobbishly withheld affection in an earlier encounter. No wonder her only friends were stinky ol’ mice.
Young or old, furry or smooth skinned, Southern or Midwestern, when Elvis is in the house, people respond. Even to grade school imitations.
A dance party was held for all of the costumed attendees, an event that captured hours of our children’s attention. They grooved. They shuffled. They showcased dance moves that bewildered even me. Swiveling their hips in a manner that would have enraptured even the most unaccommodating hula hoop, the trio of Elvis’ got down in Disney town in such an animated and inhibited fashion that my uncontrollable laughter later re-introduced my abdomen to its long lost muscles.
Eventually the heat overcame the attention, and one by one, my darling Elvis’ melted back into their former selves, like a summer popsicle slowly evaporating down to the nubby stick. Chase, my oldest, was the last to succumb to the temperatures, protesting up to the very end with sweat pouring down his face, that the sauna-like atmosphere didn’t bother him one bit, that he had one more dance left in him, as he milked out his final fifteen minutes of Disney World fame.
It’s been a few months since our trip and the Elvis costumes have been packed away. Sadly, our three children will soon reach an age that finds them choosing a tooth extraction over participating in an outing that displays matching outfits with their siblings.
But I've still got a little time left. Maybe one last public excursion remains before my trio becomes appropriately appalled. Perhaps just long enough to make plans for the outfits they will wear to the Christmas Eve Services at our Presbyterian church.
Amish Christmas, anyone?