Mama & Mia Meeting Red & The Delta Blues

Meeting Red Paden Highlights Third-grader’s Visit to the Mississippi Delta

Mia meeting Red Paden

Mia meeting Red Paden

Mama & Mia Meeting Red & The Delta Blues

By Chilly Billy
Includes Photo Gallery

Two tours shy of conducting our 400th Delta Bohemian Tour, I had the unequivocal pleasure of touring some righteous tourists this week. The coup de grace was giving a tour to nine-year-old North Carolina native Mia along with her Mama, Jenny. For her third-grade music project, Mia chose Mississippi with an emphasis on the Blues.

Mama Jenny coordinated a well-planned, several day trip to the birthplace of much of America’s music, Clarksdale, Mississippi, including trips to Elvis Presley’s Tupelo, imperative visits to the BB King Museum and the Blue Biscuit in Indianola, along with a trip to Dockery Plantation and Po Monkey’s near Cleveland. Their home base was the Electric Blue shack at the Shack Up Inn.

These two cool ladies got it right! While in Clarksdale they ate tamales at Hicks, visited Muddy Waters’s cabin at the Delta Blues Museum and his home site on the Stovall Plantation, got to hear Lucious Spillar play at Ground Zero Blues Club, where he dedicated a song to Mia. While on a Delta Bohemian regional-identity tour they met Roger Stolle of Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art plus had a long visit with the infamous Red Paden, owner of Red’s Lounge, the coolest Juke Joint in America.

Breakin’ bread with Red should go to your head. The Boss Man could not have been any nicer or more authentic in his conversations with Mia and Mama. He treated Mia like his own granddaughter.

THIS IS WHY I love the Mississippi Delta. THIS IS WHY people come back to Clarksdale time and time again. THIS IS WHY we are The Most Southern Place on Earth. THIS IS WHY we defy the world’s stereotypes of our gracious, diverse, felicitous land appreciated by almost all who come to visit. They so often say, “I came for the Blues, but I’ll come back for the people.” Ain’ it the Truth!

After our three-hour-plus ramble ‘round our portion of the Delta, Mama Jenny asked the precocious, sage, delightfully sweet Mia what her favorite part of the Delta Bohemian tour was! Her answer: “Meeting Mr. Red.

Mia’s inquisitiveness and comment along with Red’s sheer goodness oughta bring at least a scintilla of moisture to the edge of our eyes and a desire to visit these iconic stompin’ grounds.

So, come on and Visit Clarksdale, listen to some righteous tunes 365 nights a year, stay in one of our cool overnight accommodations, eat in one of our eclectic restaurants, and of course, take a Delta Bohemian Tour. But, the important thing is to “get on to Clarksdale!” Cheers! Billy

After-note on an Authentic Assessment of Mia’s visit: While on tour, before we headed into the countryside, I brought Jenny and Mia by the Clarksdale White House to meet my wife Madge and the Delta Bohemian mascot—the loveable Dandy. As do all visitors to the Clarksdale White House, they loved Dandy.

We later saw Jenny and Mia eating the fabulous fried shrimp at Ramon’s Restaurant. I had to leave to get to a meeting and Madge stayed for a bit, promising Mia she would bring her out to say goodbye to Dandy in the car.

Well, Madge forgot to do so and felt so bad about it that she contacted Jenny and apologized. Sweet Mia shared the following with her Mom, who thankfully shared it with Madge afterwards. Mia’s comparison showed she understood and could encapsulate what she had learned: “Miss Madge cheated on me with Dandy!”

Jenny said she realized Mia had been hearing all of these stories on her trip about blues singers who have done their women wrong, so she assumed Madge had cheated on her! This is a fine example of applying one’s learning to real life. God bless Mia, her Mama, and my Madge, who feels terrible. Dandy and Mia will have to meet again.

—Chilly Billy

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  1. Chilly Billy rocked our Cheesehead worlds. The tour we took with him was a highlight of our 3-day visit to Clarksdale. Billy is entertaining. His friendly and gregarious nature made us not only feel welcome, but as if we were old friends. Yes, he’s knowledgeable about the area, having worked as an educator and newspaper reporter here. But this was much more than a tour.
    The best part about a day with Billy is his honesty. We never felt like we were being sold on the region….or on anything else.
    We’d love to tour with Billy again sometime. Old friends are your best friends.
    Mike & Marcia, of Wisconsin

    • BILLY HOWELL says:

      Mike and Marcia, just WOW! I am ‘umbled by your gracious words! Truly! You bless us and thank you for coming to Clarksdale and thank you for being my friend! Cheers and hope to see y’all again soon! Marcia, keep curling! 😃

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