Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Mississippi Burning: June 11th, Jackson to Clarksdale to Memphis

The day started at Ginger's with a nice breakfast and conversation. Ginger was telling us about her best friend in junior high who was the daughter of the FBI agent on the case of the murdered civil rights workers, that the film Mississippi Buring was based on. She was too young at the time to know the significance, but it is a fascinating story now. I also visited with my great aunt Eola. She is really sharp and fun to be around. Her sister and my other great aunt Dee Dee have an interesting home. Dee Dee had been an architect and was always collecting things. It is so fun to see people history play out in the things they have around their homes.
Speaking of homes, we also walked by my Grandparents old home. I have so many memories there with all my 12 (plus?) cousins. Nana and Papa had 7 kids and they all worked hard on this great old house. I wish it was still in the family... but it was still fun to see it again from the outside.
So, we left Jackson and headed towards Clarksdale, Mississippi. Mississippi is home to some of the greatest blues musicians in history, and Clarksdale houses a museum to honor them... most notable Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. The Delta Blues Musuem was a lot of fun as was the drive over to Clarksdale. Fields and fields of corn which back in the day could have been cotton. It is a beautiful landscape and one can imagine how little it has changed in the last100 years. Clarksdale is also home to the famed crossroads, where the story goes that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil. Here is what wikipedia says about it.....

"According to a legend known to modern Blues fans, Robert Johnson was a young black man living on a plantation in rural Mississippi. Branded with a burning desire to become a great blues musician, he was instructed to take his guitar to a crossroad near Dockery Plantation at midnight. There he was met by a large black man (the Devil) who took the guitar from Johnson and tuned it. After tuning the guitar, the devil played a few songs and then returned it to Johnson, giving him mastery of the guitar. This in effect sold Johnson's soul; and in exchange Robert Johnson became able to play, sing, and create the greatest blues anyone had ever heard."

After Clarksdale we drove on to Memphis to visit with Kerri, Joel and Penny. We had a really nice time with them and we're very jealous of their amazingly cute home. Penny who is a one year old was the happiest baby ever! Yay for my friends procreating! Erika and I finished up the evening at Young Ave Deli with cheap beer and a sad game of pool.

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