By the time this article is posted on Elvisblog, it will have been a week since Charlie Hodge died at age 71. So, it’s likely all you readers have already accessed the big Elvis websites to read about the passing of one of Elvis’ best buddies. They have done a good job of celebrating the life of this interesting and talented man, so that won’t be duplicated here. It’s just a sad fact that another Elvis friend has joined him in heaven, and there will be more as the years go by.
The only thing I can add on this occasion is a personal story that relates to Charlie Hodge’s main claim to fame. In spite of his full life and many accomplishments, Charlie will forever be remembered as the man who put scarves around Elvis’ neck during concerts, so Elvis could pull them off and give them to the ladies in the audience. Watch any of the Elvis concert DVD’s again, and you will clearly spot Charlie doing the scarf thing.
Back in 2002, during Elvis Week in Memphis, six lovely ladies from Ontario adopted me. We all worked as volunteer ticket takers and ushers at three concerts presented by Darwin Lamm, publisher of Elvis International magazine. After the shows we went out on Beale Street and drank and danced and had a bunch of fun together. The six girls also adopted a pretty singer from Japan named Kathy Osawa. She had a singing career back home and had occasionally performed in Japan and Canada as an Elvis tribute artist. Kathy was in Memphis to scope it out for future performance opportunities, and she hung out with our group.
The next year, Kathy and I and our six friends reconnected at the Collingwood Elvis Festival in Ontario. Kathy was there to perform in the competition (Professional Category), and to entertain at one of the outdoor beer gardens. I volunteered to be sort of a roadie and carry all her stuff to the venues, but Kathy had one more job for me.
Before she went on stage at the beer garden, she brought out a bundle of scarves and explained that she needed me to come on stage during her closing number and drape them over her neck one-by-one. It was kind of fun, and the men in the audience were more that happy to come up to the stage and get a scarf from Kathy (but no kisses – she kept on singing).
Later, as I returned to our group’s table, a girl I had met at an impromptu party in our motel parking lot spoke to me. She said, “I saw you up there doing the Charlie Hodge thing.”
Well, I’m proud I could be like Charlie Hodge for just a few minutes. Elvisworld has lost one of its most unique members.
© 2006 Philip R Arnold www.elvisblog.net