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MY FIRST "GUN EXPERIENCE" WITH ELVIS


Legend: In Graceland, Elvis shows off one of his guns after Sonny West's wedding, on 28/12/1970.

Just received a message re: Elvis and his guns. It reminded me of this little episode. Ahem.

This was my very first introduction to a gun in Elvis' hands. Am not sure of the date, 1970 or 71 in Vegas. We had decided to have breakfast in the dining room of the suite at the International/Hilton hotel, with the bodyguards because we had all had time off, and like any 'family' had much to discuss and catch up on. On this particular morning (remember...that would be about four p.m. for us) the table was a "jumble". Everyone was talking at once telling one another about their holidays, I was talking about what studio work I had been doing, and playing with my "just-awarded" National Champion show mare. Elvis was at the head of the table, I was just to his left. 

Apparently Elvis wanted my attention or "order in the court", so he calmly said, "Listen to me". I was busy talking to Charlie at the opposite end and I guess I ignored him. He repeated, "Kathy, Listen to me!"  I heard him, but...yes... guess I failed again, and this time he nudged my shoulder and yelled, "LISTEN TO ME!" Lord, I don't know why... but I continued to finish what Charlie and I had begun. Not a good idea.  

(Side note...I am laughing so hard as I type this I have tears in my eyes now).

As Elvis realized he wasn't getting through, he proceeded to reach down into his boot and pull out his little tiny derringer. He fired several shots into the ceiling. The guys responded immediately taking cover under the table as pieces of ceiling plaster fell all over our breakfasts. I don't know if I was just numb or just so used to Elvis' unpredictable behavior, but I just sat at the table and attempted to finish my breakfast while scraping the ceiling plaster from my plate and clothes. (Sure ruined my eggs and it was in my 'just-washed' hair). When the shooting finally ended the guys peeked their little eyes and heads over the edge of the table. I remember seeing Red West (eyes only) peering at me, so I calmly asked, "Red, will you please pass me the toast?" It was then that the recently "perturbed" Elvis broke out into hysterical laughter, which of course everyone joined in as they were feeling more comfortable.

As everyone climbed back carefully into their seats, Elvis began hollering "Kathy's got the nerves of steel here! Nothing, nothing shakes up Minnie Mouse here!"  He continued laughing, howling, and then told that story for days.

I'm still dumbfounded. I don't believe it was nerves of steel. Honestly, I don't know what it was or why I didn't react to that as I probably should have. It was after many death threats and bomb threats that I began to react perhaps in a very justified paranoid way to any loud noise or popping sound...even the cork of a champagne bottle. That's why the guys took cover. They were used to the threats already. I had much to learn, if for no other reason but to avoid having to shower or change clothes twice in one hour.

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