Sunday, December 27, 2009

Celebrating Elvis and the South

Poems By: Patricia Neely-Dorsey
Tourism Attractions: Elvis Presley Birthplace, Reed's Department Store (est.1905 in Historic Downtown Tupelo), Tupelo Hardware Store (where Elvis got his first guitar)
Location: Tupelo, Mississippi
Tupelo is the seventh largest city in Mississippi and is located between Memphis,Tennessee, and Birmingham , Alabama, along U.S. Highway 78.
Tupelo is best known as the birthplace of Elvis Presley.
Photos: Courtesy of Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau

"The King"
(Elvis A. Presley)
born :January 8, 1935- Tupelo,MS

From poor and meager beginnings,
A young man began to sing;
From the small town of Tupelo,
A voice began to ring.
As surely as it's been said,
A man's gifts make a way for him;
This humble diamond in the rough,
Became a sparkling gem.
Velvet melodies and explosive rock,
Were the gifts he'd bring;
The world responded with resounding praise,
And pronounced this man "The King".

Copyright Patricia Neely-Dorsey 2009

"Reed's Dept. Store"
(Established 1905)

Reed's Dept. store in Tupelo,
Is the oldest in the town;
It was the place, as a child,
Where all our clothing needs were found.
Each year, in the fall, with my mom,
Before the start of school;
We'd go to Reed's for school attire.
This was just the rule.
When it was time for a winter coat,
It was off to Reed's we'd go;
So I'd be prepared for chilly days,
Or maybe even snow.
Reed's is where we'd always get,
Our uniforms for scouts;
If we needed a new cap or sash,
Reed's would have it, without a doubt.
Over the years, it stayed the same,
If we had special needs;
For fancy occasions or big events,
We'd always go to Reed's.

Copyright 2008 Patricia Neely-Dorsey
from Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life in Poems

Reed's is located directly across from Tupelo Hardware Store, seen above, in Historic Downtown Tupelo where it is said that Elvis' mother Gladys bought him his first guitar.

Story of Elvis' First Guitar


The small town where I am from,
Gets its name from the Tupelo Gum.
No matter where in the world
That I might roam
This is the place that I call home.
Though I've been northeast for my education,
I've stayed fiercely southern in dedication.
In Memphis, I lived for many years,
By my own election,
And even still, there was that Tupelo connection.
At Elvis' Graceland fans come to mourn
But it's Tupelo, Mississippi, where he was born.
Tupelo is known as an All-American city,
If you've never enjoyed it, that's quite a pity.
It's so warm, so hospitable and so neat,
Everything about it to me is so sweet.
I love the trees, the flowers and the birds,
I can't really describe all its beauty in words.

Though many places in my life,
Have played a significant part;
It's Tupelo, Mississippi, y'all,
That still has all my heart.

Copyright 2008 Patricia Neely-Dorsey
poems from Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life in Poems

Tourism Guide

Tupelo is hosting several gala events to commemorate the 75th birthday of their most famous native son.

Thursday January 7th
Downtown Tupelo at the Lyric Theatre
Ultimate Elvis Tribute winners Brandon Bennett and Bill Cherry in Concert with the EAS band
Find details at

Friday January 8th 10am
Join Marty Stuart at the Tupelo CVB to unveil a special exhibit of costuming including one of Marty Stuart's outfits and a jumpsuit on loan from Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Friday January 8th 10am
Official opening of the Sparkle and Twang exhibit at the Tupelo Automobile Museum.
The collection is a homage to music legends like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline , George Jones, ect. and includes costumes, instruments, hand-written lyrics and personal mementos

Friday January 8th 1pm
Birthday Party for The King
Elvis Presley Birthplace
Free entry to the Birthplace
Birthday cake, Coffee and Punch
Visiting with Elvis fans from around the world
Special 75th birthday postcards and souvenier cups available for purchase

Friday January 8th 2-4pm
Marty Stuart Booksigning at the Tupelo Automobile Museum.
Marty will sign copies of his book "Country Music: The Masters"

Friday Janaury 8th 8pm
An intimate evening of music and storytelling with one of America's greatest talents, Mississippi born Marty Stuart: Live at the Link Centre
General Admission: $30 Balcony $25

The official hotel for the 75th Extravaganza is the Tupelo Hilton Garden Inn
Make reservations at

Tupelo is also an hour and a half drive from Memphis and Graceland, so check out both!

Tourism Links

Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau

Mississippi Division of Tourism

Visiting Mississippi/The Official Website of Mississippi

About Patricia Neely-Dorsey
Patricia's first book of poetry, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life in Poems, was published in 2008. Reflections makes a great gift idea, especially in a gift basket. She is currently working on her second book of poetry in her hometown of Tupelo. Check out more of her work and reviews in the October Stories By Month on this site in the archives.

Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia-A Life in Poems

Order an autpgraphed copy from Reed's Gumtree Bookstore

Read more Elvis-inspired poetry in Beyond the Shadows of Graceland with work from Tupelo poet Heather VanHoose Truett by scrolling below.

COMING SOON: An excerpt and review from Literary Trails of the North Carolina Mountains: A Guidebook by Georgann Eubanks, published by UNC Press. Also, an excerpt from Conecuh People by Dr. Wade Hall, published by New South Books. This book was adapted into a play that is performed annually at the historic Red Door Theatre in Union Springs, Alabama.

Order Patricia's book at Amazon and other major book outlets.

Find out more about Literary Trails of the North Carolina Mountains: A Guidebook by Georgann Eubanks.

Find out more about Conecuh People by Dr. Wade Hall and the Red Door Theatre in historic Union Springs, Alabama, where his play is performed.


  1. I will just have to visit Tupelo one day. Patricia's wonderful poems accompanied with great photographs makes this town so appealing.

  2. Yes! Yes! You must!!
    There is a lot to see and do...(especially eat and shop)and the people are wonderful!!! (smile)
    For Elvis fans, it's just a hop, skip and jump to Memphis to visit Graceland.

  3. Don't be modest, Ohme: plug your story! Not everyone inspires a short story like you did. Check out "Ohme" in the December Stories By Month--or just scroll down till you see a pretty "Holidays in the Village" picture.