Party Line: Jerry Lee Lewis turns 78, gets birthday wish

Jerry Lee Lewis and his wife, Judith, spent part of his 78th birthday at a party at Jerry Lee Lewis’ Cafe and Honky Tonk on Beale Street Sunday night.

Photo by Michael Donahue // Buy this photo

Jerry Lee Lewis and his wife, Judith, spent part of his 78th birthday at a party at Jerry Lee Lewis’ Cafe and Honky Tonk on Beale Street Sunday night.

Jerry Lee Lewis spent part of his 78th birthday on a black leather sofa holding hands with his wife, Judith, in front of a room full of adoring fans. The Lewises celebrated Sunday night at Jerry Lee Lewis’ Cafe and Honky Tonk on Beale.

Before “The Killer” walked into the room, Jamie Teachenor played songs by Jerry Lee as well as Elvis, Chubby Checker and others on a 100-year-old Steinway.

Jerry Lee, wearing his trademark white loafers, and Judith entered and sat while people standing on the other side of a roped-off area with security guards congratulated him. The couple accepted a bunch of circular and star-shaped “Happy Birthday” balloons, which Jerry Lee held while cameras flashed.

Asked what he wanted for his birthday, Jerry Lee said, “I got it.”

Earlier, when asked what she got her husband for his birthday, Judith said “Macadamia nuts, Juicy Fruit gum and a designer shirt. Blue, silk and cotton.”

Jerry Lee and Judith sat for about 20 minutes or so and then left the room. Guests then proceeded to the buffet line, which ended with a birthday cake bearing the words, “Happy 78th Jerry Lee Lewis.”

Steve Payne and his wife, Pat, traveled from Henderson, Texas, to see Jerry Lee in person. Steve, who served in Vietnam in the 1960s, said Lewis was loved by servicemen in Vietnam. They played his songs from “great big speakers on helicopters,” said Steve.

What made Jerry Lee so special to the soldiers? “He was wild. He had the energy. He’s the greatest.”

Successful slog

Philip Levi and his dad, Malcolm Levi, ran in the LuvMud 5K obstacle/mud race Saturday at Shelby Farms Park. The event benefits Habitat for Humanity.

Philip wore a black-and-white cow costume. Malcolm wore more conventional attire: shorts and T-shirt.

Asked why he was wearing a cow costume, Philip said, “Why aren’t you wearing a cow suit?”

The race got Philip back to Memphis from Los Angeles, where he now lives. “My dad said he’d be interested in doing something like this,” Philip said. “So, I said, ‘OK, I’ll see your claim and I will raise you; me coming in town and doing it with you from California.’ So, he ate it up. And here I am. Doing my dad’s first mud race with him.”

Asked why he agreed to run in the race, Malcolm said, “It’s a challenge to me. The only way I get to see him is by challenging him to stuff.”

They both ended the race wading through a massive mud pool. Philip came in before his dad at 52 minutes and 40.85 seconds. Malcom came in at 52 minutes and 41.69 seconds.

“That was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” said Philip, adding, “It was hot and it was cold and it was muddy.”

Said Malcolm: “My longest run has been around the block.”

And why didn’t Malcolm wear a cow suit? “(There is) only one and we arm-wrestled for it.”

Also running in this year’s race was Don Tucker, 58, who had a heart attack in mid-June. “My heart attack was fairly minor,” he said. “I just went in with chest pains.”

He discovered an artery was blocked. “It still was major surgery.”

He said his doctor told him to “take it easy for six weeks and get back to doing what you’re doing.”

Don wasn’t down long. “I’ve been playing handball twice a week since July.”

More than 1,200 people participated in LuvMud, said Mark Horrocks, race director and Habitat for Hope director. “We raised about $50,000 this year, which is the most we’ve ever got,” he said.

This is the fourth year, but the sixth event because they also now do Luvglo, a nighttime event, in the spring. People like LuvMud because “it’s something different,” Mark said. “It’s not your normal 5K. It’s an experience. This isn’t a road race. It’s a music festival. It’s mud. It’s running with your friends. It’s not a competitive race.

“We always love the after event, just seeing Facebook, Instagram and Twitter light up with people’s pictures and experiences of the race. It’s not just a race.”

Tastes lead to wishes

Germantown Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the recent Taste of the Town at the Hilton Memphis, but the “town” wasn’t just Germantown; Memphis restaurants also were included.

Forty food stations were included, but Owen Brennan’s was the overall winner of the event, which included decorations and food preparation. Vendors were judged on casual, fine dining, appetizer/entree, dessert and overall presentation.

The evening also included live and silent auctions. All the live auction proceeds went to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-South. “We were able to grant four wishes,” said Janie Day, executive director of the Germantown Chamber of Commerce. “We earned over $20,000 for Make-A-Wish.”

Music was by violinist Donna Wolf and saxophonist Pat Register.

RISE gala

The RISE Foundation held its first gala, “An Evening of Change,” Saturday night at Hilton Memphis. RISE, which stands for Responsibility, Initiative, Solutions, Empowerment, works to improve the quality of life for low-income families through financial literacy programs.

Charles Ewing, president of Ewing Moving Service, was the speaker at the event, which also included cocktails, dinner, a silent auction and music by Trio Plus.

About 350 people attended, said Aisling Maki, public relations spokesman for the event. First Tennessee Bank, the major sponsor of the event, presented a check for $10,000 to the foundation, Aisling said.

Linda Williams is RISE president and CEO. Stephanie Scurlock, WREG news anchor/reporter, was emcee.

Masters play for Stax

Memphis performers showed their stuff at “Memphis Music Masters” Saturday night at The Crescent Club. The event benefited Stax Music Academy.

“We’ve done a number of charity things, but we wanted to tie more into the community and get more involved,” said Charles Shepherd, Crescent Club general manager.

He decided to involve the entertainment community, including Stax. “I have a love of music and thought that would tie the two together.”

Charles worked with saxophonist Pat Register to assemble the performers. The lineup, including Pat, included Taylor Daniel, Josh James, Gary Johns, Tom Lonardo, Vicki Loveland, Van Buren, Lloyd Rainey, Lance Williams, Tony Thomas and Lee Taylor.

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