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Looking through Half-glassed Memories

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Clouds and Blues on this Rolling Fork wall

One of the unexpected snags we’ve run into repeated on this blues sojourn is MEMORY. Either I’m senile. Or Don’s senile. OR both of us have crammed so much blues news and trivia into our heads that it now comes out in unpredictable dribs and drabs. We’ve made several trips through Mississippi’s Delta in search of… of whatever we’re looking for that we hope we will recognizer when we see it, but we are often unsure as to whether we’ve been here before! Aaaaa, the joys of ageing. Or is it that we’ve not noticed before how feeble are the chains that binds memories to our minds.

Add the fact that lots of small Mississippi towns look like each other with their downtown boulevard separated by a strip of grass where Old Glory grows from the ground along with a plaque marking another filling station on the blues highway. Old buildings on both sides of the boulevard bespeak of ancient prosperity – well, bustle, anyways.

Having discussed this out the ying-yang, we’ve come  to the conclusion that unless both of us agree on the same memory, then we stop and spelunk. CB sits in the back of Tranq, watching and shaking her head!

Indianola has been embraced by B B King as his hometown, although he (and former Washington, D. C., mayor Marion Berry) was born in Itta Bena, Mississippi, just down the road a piece. It’s where he holds his annual homecoming concert (and where a security guard absconded with all the photos Don had shot that evening, pointing to a “no cameras” sign while ignoring the dozens of flashes going off all over the fairgrounds).

 

Here's B. B. King peering over the shoulder of the Super 8 admissions desk in Indianola

 

 

In Indianola's Super 8 parking lot

 

There’s an extensive B. B. King Museum in Indianola which pays tribute to its namesake in a dozen different ways, including at least that many videos. It would take me a couple of days to peruse everything carefully; however, I got a real good taste of it yesterday. Tickets are $5.

 

Club Ebony saw hundreds of blues performers come and go through more than half a century. Today, the Indianola nightspot, now owned by B B, seems to have been hit like its brothers and sisters by a divebombing economy

 

 

An Ebony Club neighborlady recommended Betty's Place a few blocks away for home cooked lunch. The rib tips were fine, the catfish define and the hamburger delectable. So sayeth we all. While we waited eagerly for our lunch, the skies opened and emptied a double potload of rain and a little bit of hail on us.

 

 

Holly Ridge is not far west of Indianola

 

Then there was the emergency stop for Gold Bond powder to soothe me and rubber bands so Don can eat without his hair seasoning his sandwiches.

 

Sam Chatmon who, like a lot fellow blues travelers, spent much more of his life working on a plantation than in kicking the traces and playing the blues, is buried just beyond this archway and to the right

 

 

There's a decided rural flavor to most of the gravesites we've visited. Sam Chatmon's was no exception.

 

 

Rolling Fork, Mississippi, is the birthplace of Muddy Waters. Another cookie cutter town, but imbued with no small measure of emotion

 

 

Rolling Fork celebrates "The Great Bear Affair" every year in honor of President Teddy Roosevelt's bear hunt in Sharkey County, Mississippi, that ultimately, we are told, led to the sobriquet "teddy bear." Wooden bears dot the cityscape

61! 61! Everywhere 61! Come on in, they seem to say, and bring your money, if you will.

 

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Written by frankieleeee

October 13, 2010 at 1:15 pm

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