During our research into local area Greenwood, Mississippi, lodging, we discovered a plantation just a quarter mile up the road from Robert's grave that had restored sharecropper shacks, much like they would have lived in back in the day...(by the way, in case you don't already know it, you can click on the picture to view it in larger format.)
Down the road from Tallahatchie (why does it always seem to work this way!?) we passed a small building on our way out to a fun meal in downtown Greenwood,
We pulled up the gravel driveway to the radio station just as the light in the sky was fading into a muted pumpkin orange, and knocked on the door. I looked in the front window around the American Flag and saw a man getting up from the console. My heart was in my throat as memories of Wolfman Jack, who worked in a building similar to this, just over the border in Mexico from Del Rio, Texas, and was depicted in American Graffiti, blasted out 50,000 watts of "Boss Soul Power." It was said that the station was so powerful that birds dropped dead when they flew near the broadcasting towers and the signal could be heard at night from New York to LA. When I was a kid, I tuned my old tube set radio to this station to hear his mysterious growl and mind-expanding musical epiphanies. I didn't learn until much later that he wasn't a black man.
The door to the station opened and we were greeted with a smile by an African American gentleman in a freshly-starched white shirt, tie, and dress slacks and highly-polished shoes.
We told Poe our story about seeking the roots of the blues and he asked us if we would submit to an interview on air and then a taped one to follow for editing. We looked at each other and I said partially under my breath, "Hell yes!" I looked over at Ruth and her eyes were as big as saucers thinking about speaking in front of people, which she hates like a New Orleans cockroach hates the light. Needless to say, she let me take the lead.
Much of our conversation spun around what the crossroads really means, symbolically. It's a powerful concept. The crossroads live in us all. It is the intersection of heart and mind, the place where we find our solitude, where life decisions are met and decided. It is the beginning, the end, the place where things intersect but don't stop, a place of choices. If Robert Johnson ever extracted himself from his agreement with the "devil," we will never know, and if he tried renegotiating, we can only conjecture. The blues, however is all about coming to these crossroads expressed through such emotions such as "Needing," "Leaving," "Toasting and Boasting," and it has caught the cultural waves rolling in from many "tribes" and locations as we have been exploring in previous blogs. We all move into and through crossroads, small and large, and the blues reminds us that these times are nodes of power in growth and opportunity.
So, what about the BBQ in the title? you ask. Can you think of a more appropriate place to have awesome beef and pork BBQ with those you love than "At the Crossroads?" Devil be damned!