Sun gonna shine in my back door someday An’ the wind gonna change gonna blow my blues away. —Tommy Johnson, “Maggie Campbell Blues,” 1928

We are on the road at 7:30 in search of coffee. The first stop before the caffeine rush is to pull up at the Riverside Hotel. The hotel was used as a stopping-off point for Blues performers on their way to Chicago. It is also the hotel in which the famed blues singer Bessie Smith died after a car accident. We were pointed in the direction of Yazoo Pass coffee, and we are now ready for the road.

We are on U.S. 49 East/South and we are very surprised the see that there is a road sign saying the Emmett Till Memorial Highway. Wow, that is a change of heart for the state of Mississippi. We found Bryant’s Grocery, now in ruins. There is a Civil Rights memorial marker explaining the history of what happened here. I am sure many of you have recently viewed the Emmet Till movie.

Now on to Greenwood. We stopped off at Robert Johnson’s grave site at the First Little Zion M.B. church. There is some conjecture about the documented site of Johnson’s grave but it does not stop us from paying homage to the legendary Bluesman.

The next stop is the Tallahatchie Bridge, made famous in the 1967 release of Ode To Billie Joe by Bobbie Gentry. The original wooden bridge collapsed in 1972 after being set alight by vandals. The boulevard into the town is picturesque, tree-lined with many impressive homes.

It was the third of June, another sleepy, dusty Delta day
I was out choppin’ cotton, and my brother was balin’ hay
And at dinner time we stopped and walked back to the house to eat
And mama hollered out the back door, y’all, remember to wipe your feet
And then she said, I got some news this mornin’ from Choctaw Ridge
Today, Billy Joe MacAllister jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge

Today is a sort of get-in and get-out sort of day as we visit historical sites one after another on our way to our overnight stop in Leland, Mississippi.

Indianola was the birthplace and is now the resting place of the one and only B.B. King (died 14/05/2015, aged 89). He returned every year for his Indianola homecoming. There has been a museum and interpretive center in the town since 2008. The last time I was here Mr. King was still alive. There are now more exhibits to view, including his personal studio, Rolls Royce, ute, and tour bus. When you exit the museum you are directed to a very tasteful memorial to the great man at his final resting place.

We stopped off for lunch at another roadside Mexican diner (when will we learn?) called Los Molcuajettes. Average food, good service, and unlimited Dr. Pepper. At 2:07 we are on our way to Greenville. Bernie is after a couple of long-sleeved t-shirts for bike riding and he wants to find a T J Maxx outlet. We pulled into a Mall and there was the outlet. I tell you without a lie we were nearly the only people in the whole complex. I had to find a rest room which took me to another department store. An older employee looked a little suspiciously at me and asked what I was looking for. I am looking a little unkempt, I know. Anyway, I did what I had to do and, as I exited, I saw a security man waiting for me just to make sure, I guess, that I was legit.

We then stopped off at the Cypress Preserve Trust, a sixteen-acre cypress break in what is known as a slough. A slough is a wetland depression or swamp in which cypress trees grow. the cypress likes slow-moving water. There is a warning sign to be aware of. ‘Leaves of three let be’. It will be poison ivy.

We make our final stop at Leland. Leland was the childhood home of the Muppets creator Jim Henson and also a young Johnny Winter. The Air BnB is a little older than most of the accommodations we have stayed in but it is clean. The owner left a stack of snacks as well as bacon and eggs. Very nice gesture. She also left little pamphlets around the place about why Jesus is the man! Just to finish up a comment on the billboards we have seen while traveling through Mississippi. They are mostly ads for accident lawyers or religious musings. The most ridiculous one I noted said something like ‘ and God Created the World’ accompanied by a drawing of the classic evolution chain with a big X to cross it out.

Evolution ape to man silhouette illustration concept.

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