You Gave Me a Mountain

One of the great scenes in my life, something like the great banquet scene in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, unfolded at my mother’s nursing home when an Elvis “stylist” crooned to us after the annual friends-and-family Thanksgiving dinner. Most of the ladies at our table, my mother included, didn’t know whether this Elvis was an impersonator or the real deal. But they remembered how to swoon.

It was 1993. And there I was in the place where I faced the hardest feelings in my life. I was the dutiful son then, buoyed by the camaraderie of my own young son. Just a hundred feet away was the room where I told my father stories as he lived his last year in a coma. Across the hall was another room where my mother drifted gently in and out of an Alzheimer memory fog. When Elvis sang “You Gave Me A Mountain” that night, I broke down and wept. I hope I live long enough to write that story and give it a shred of Dostoevskian justice.

This clip is by Marty Robbins, who wrote the song. The Elvis version is a Las Vegas tearjerker.

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