Thursday, December 02, 2004

Mr. Johnson's Grave

We rode in a limo to Robert Johnson's grave. A bunch of drunk, crazy Southerners and one consultant from Kalamazoo, Michigan. He looked very nervous.

The first thought I had was that this would probably be the last time I was driving to a cemetery in a limousine alive (with 35 approaching quickly and all). And it was my first drive in a limousine. All 30 people crammed into the limousine said if I were just going to have one limo ride, this was the one to have. Fiber-optic disco lights all over the ceiling. A lighted water-bubble-fountain thingie. (But in Greenwood, MS, at 10:30 at night there is no one to stick your head out the window and shout at - except the hoot owls, maybe.)

The trip to the grave is not long. You cross the Yazoo River, and you're basically right at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. There were two guys there playing the guitar and a woman passing out candles. (I'm guessing we somehow paid for this with the tour.)

It was very funny to me. I imagined Mr. Johnson laughing his ass off seeing a big group of (mostly) white people listening to two white guys with guitars telling us about his blues. Like we would no anything about the kind of deep-down, heart-wrenching blues that a black man must've felt in the Mississippi Delta in the 1930s, especially a black man who had just lost his wife-to-be and newborn in childbirth.

But we went. We showed our respect and paid tribute. We all sang the blues together...and left a little happier in our soul.


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