Alive and kicking, Elvis spotted in Montreat

Fred McCormick

Patrons passing through the Montreat Post Office last week felt like they were in the presence of royalty when the King stopped by.

In celebration of the August release of Elvis Presley “Forever” stamp by the USPS, part-time Montreat resident Frank Cooper donned a bedazzled jumpsuit and mingled with customers.

There for him (and everyone else) to snack on were fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches and Mississippi mud cake. And of course, the King’s greatest hits were in the air.

“The Montreat community loves to have fun,” Postmaster Cathy Curtis said. “We just thought it would be a good idea to do this to bring some attention to the release of the stamp.”

For sale was the stamp itself, officially issued Aug. 12, featuring Elvis in black and white and his signature in gold.

But wait, there’s more.

Also for sale at the Montreat post office and at post offices nationwide is the exclusive “Elvis Presley Forever CD.” Eighteen songs in all, including “What Now My Love” and “If I Can Dream.”

Songs like that beg you to dance, and Elvis - ahem, Cooper - was dancing up a storm, a different customer on his arm each time.

“I started doing this (dressing as Presley) last year,” said Cooper, who learned to impersonate the rock ‘n’ roll legend for a performance in Montreat last year. “Since then, I’ve only done it a couple of times where I sang a couple of songs for home dinner parties.”

Little-known history: Presley made a clandestine visit to the Swannanoa Valley in the summer of 1975, prior to a show in Asheville. He scheduled an appointment with local dentist James Love, originally from Memphis, Tenn., to get a toothache treated.

Presley arrived in Lincoln Continental limousine escorted by sheriff deputies and the Black Mountain Police Department, according to the July 31 issue of The Black Mountain News.

Elvis gave Love and his two technicians - Mary Williams and Lou Karnas - tickets to the show. And later he called the dentist to tell him that his tooth was better.

The story was the subject of a fictional book by local author Jerald Pope, “The Elvis Tooth.”