Checking in from Indianola, MS …
My walk on Wednesday, May 2 started out well—walked by Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena, alma mater of the best receiver in the history of football, Jerry Rice. But then on the afternoon portion of my walk, the bottom fell out—literally. I got caught in a serious thunderstorm—torrential rain, 25-30 mile per hour winds, marble-sized hailstones, lightning striking so close that I could smell the discharge and the hair on my arms stood up. Definitely, the worst walking experience of the trip to date. Thank goodness, Brenda rescued me before anything more than a good drenching happened.
On Thursday, I walked through Indianola. This is the town that B. B. King calls home and the location of the B. B. King Museum. This state-of-the-art facility does a sensational, high tech job of detailing B. B.’s life from sharecropper, to tractor driver, to street corner musician, to blues legend and icon. In his late teens and early twenties, B. B. was living in Indianola performing with a gospel quartet and moonlighting singing the blues outside local clubs. During the day, he was a tractor driver at a cotton plantation until fate prevailed. One day, he accidently knocked the exhaust pipe off the tractor. Fearing that the plantation owner would be angry, B. B. fled to Memphis and Beale Street where he had wanted to test his singing and playing skills in the major league of blues. Performing on an amateur hour hosted by DJ Rufus Thomas at the first all-black radio station, WDIA, B. B. earned a regular spot on this leading blues media outlet. His career took off when he recorded “Three O’clock Blues,” which rocketed to the top of the blues chart. The rest is history—42 albums, countless live performances (up to 300 per year), hits like “The Thrill is Gone,” and international recognition as the leading bluesman, the icon of the blues. The B. B. Museum is a must-do stop on the Mississippi Blues Trail that chronicles the genre throughout the Delta.
Friday, May 4 will most likely be our last day in Mississippi. Thanks to Paul Townsend at Guaranty Bank and Trust in Indianola for allowing us to park the last couple of nights and to Brittany Martin of the Mississippi Bankers Association for making the arrangements. Here is our projected schedule for the next few days:
Friday, May 4 … to Greenville, MS
Saturday, May 5 … across the Mississippi River to Lake Village, Arkansas
Sunday, May 6 … Hwy 82 to Montrose, AR