Our trip to Clarksdale originated in Atlanta. I had flown there from Southwest Florida. Since this whole adventure had originally been inspired by the movie Muscle Shoals, our route took us to the famed Alabama town first. After our stop there, we made our way down to Tupelo, Mississippi where we spent the night.
Many of you know, Tupelo is the birthplace of “The King”… Elvis Presley. Now I want to be clear… I’m not a fan. Never was. I understand his importance… I understand his fame. But for me, the commercialism and popularity outweighed the music. Granted, he was the first… that was just never enough for me.
But… we were here.
So we headed on over to see the birthplace of Elvis. As I feared, it was a museum-like tribute/presentation. It was impressive to see the house and how small it was. However, the car which took Elvis and his father off to Memphis in the middle of the night… wasn’t “the car” at all. It was a 1937 Plymouth “just like” the one they used. Fair enough.
After the visit to the birthplace, we decided it might be fun to drop in on Johnnies Bar-B-Q. This was the place were Elvis would go after to school for a “doe burger” and an RC Cola. Ding, ding, ding… BONUS!!!! Johnnies was cool. Unassuming, virtually unaltered, Johnnies continues today just as it did back then. Yes, Elvis ate here. Do they make their living from that? No. Are they happy to share a chuckle with you? Hell yeah! We signed the guest book, looked at all the memorabilia, took some photos and even had a “doe burger.”
The real bonus came, however, when we began chatting with the gentleman in the booth next to us. A life long resident of Tupelo, he was happy to share tales of the town, some Elvis trivia and his love of music and the blues. This guy was a delight. He introduced himself with just a bit of a drawl… I'm Charles Justice… and Charles couldn’t have been nicer. He literally made our day.
We were back on the road by noon… but if you’re ever in Tupelo, drop in on Johnnies. If you’re lucky, you might run into Charles!