...to see the King, his birthplace and the Tupelo museum devoted to his early life when he lived in Tupelo.
Cliff and I left Columbus, MS, heading west toward Starkville and then turned north, which took us through West Point, MS. We had a straight shot to Tupelo about 50 miles away. It was a beautiful fall day with clear skies, and the land opened up into small farms on both sides of the highway, with cotton bursting to be harvested, grain of some sort being harvested with combines, and the ever-present rolls of grass hay drying out in the morning sun. Beyond the small farm plots, trees languidly stood, growing ever closer to dropping their leaves. But even in mid-October the land was green.
|The Chickasaw County Courthouse dominates this|
portion of the Okolona downtown
Okolona is a town of about 2,600 people. It has a small downtown running east and west along Main Street. I was glad to see that on that Thursday morning the downtown was busy, with cars parked up and down the street. The county courthouse sits on Main.
|Wisteria arbor provides a nice|
place for shoppers to sit awhile
We had parked on Main, right in front of a cafe called Generations Sizzling Griddle Cafe. We kept it in mind for a break before we left town. We had arrived around 11 a.m. and we figured we could dawdle awhile, since from Okolona, Tupelo was less than twenty miles up the road.
|This is the family that owns the|
cafe. Left is daughter Maggie.
Middle is Mother Dena, and right
is Granddaughter Callie.
Dena, her daughter, and older granddaughter are friendly and accommodating, and Cliff and I had a great lunch, interesting conversation and an overall pleasant impression of Okolona. We really hadn't planned on stopping in Okolona for lunch, but that's just the way things happen when you have leisure time and a beautiful day to travel.
Again, towns are much closer together in Mississippi than they are in southern New Mexico. Instead of having to drive 60 miles between towns, here in Mississippi, there are little towns 10, 15, or 20 miles apart, which allows for frequent stops if you choose.
The Baby Boomer generation of course can claim Elvis as is own, and sometimes it's difficult for me to realize that we're now all senior citizens and grew up on Elvis's innovative blend of blues, country, and rock 'n roll. In Tupelo, at least, Elvis is forever young. To really get into the visit at the museum and birthplace, one has to buy tickets to see inside his family church as well as his family home. But maybe that's for another day when family comes to visit us and we can take them around the state or at least the sights within a 60-mile radius. We have yet to visit the gulf coast, which is quite a bit farther from Columbus than even Memphis, which is where Graceland is located and contains a much more extensive collection of Elvis memorabilia.
Elvis had 30 number 1 hits in his career, and it is really difficult to find a particular song that captures so much of his talent. So I've chosen Blue Suede Shoes to end this particular post (followed by a two-hour selection of songs from another enduring great in the blues field.
Any time I drive around in Mississippi I am aware of the birthplace of the blues, as well. All over Mississippi are plaques and places where renown blues greats performed, even if some of them are not particularly from Mississippi, and so I leave you with a two-hour video for your enjoyment of B.B. King's greatest hits.