The Magic of Greenwood – By Bill Burrus

If you haven’t visited my hometown of Greenwood recently, what the heck is wrong with you?

Greenwood has a lot to offer visitors. People travel from all over the world, literally, to soak up the blues heritage while visiting The Alluvian, a chic boutique hotel that is the centerpiece of a revitalized Howard Street in downtown Greenwood. A visit to the grave of legendary bluesman Robert Johnson — who is famous for selling his soul to the devil at a Delta crossroads in exchange for his musical talent — is always a musts-stop destination for so many along with the birthplace of blues icon B.B. King.

Some prefer to “rough it” and stay at the Tallahatchie Flats, refurbished shanties moved from nearby plantations and set along side the Tallahatchie River.

Greenwood is a town where the hospitality is effusive and the food is delicious. If that’s what you crave, this is the place for you.

From creative, fine dining to the best soul food in the Delta, my town has it all. A few of my favorites are: the gumbo and broiled shrimp with lump crabmeat at Lusco’s, the steak at Giardina’s, the cutlet with gravy, of course, at the Crystal Grill, the rib tips at Drake’s Barbecue and the chicken parmesan at Serio’s.

And don’t forget about chef Taylor Bowen-Ricketts, a semi-finalist in the James Beard Foundation Awards for Best Chef — South in 2011, at Fan & Johnny’s.

Greenwood, like many other Delta towns, is a social place, and I like that. If it’s good time you are looking for, this is the place for you. We will throw a part for any occasion.

The annual Christmas parade in early December is a great example. We have several friends who live along the route on scenic Grand Boulevard. They host pre- and post-parade parties with bands, booze and a lot of great food.

My family started an Easter tradition many years ago, hosting a crawfish boil that afternoon. It’s great time for the kids as well as the adults, and it seems to get bigger each year. Holidays, friends and family mix well with a cold beer and hot mugbugs.

I have spent all but four of my 49 years living here. The other four were spent in Starkville at Mississippi State — so it’s fair to say I lived here my entire life.

The majority of my high school friends moved off to college and never came back. They live in places like Washington, D.C., Colorado, California and New York. And that’s fine.

I like to visit them, but I love coming home.

I am grateful I got the chance to raise my son in the town where I grew up, and that I have been able share a lot of the same things I liked most about Greenwood with him. At the top of that list is being able to drive 10 minutes in any direction and have access to great public hunting and fishing.

Another thing I like about this place is that is a small town with a big heart. When tragedy or sickness strikes, the folks in our community rally around those in need. I have seen it time and time again, and unfortunately, a young girl in our town is battling leukemia. (#prayerwarriorsforEllen)

The community’s response and the support of her Pillow Academy family has been overwhelming. It makes me proud to call Greenwood home.

We are also so lucky to have a nice infusion of young people returning to their hometown to build their careers and families. That’s always good to see, and I think it says a lot about our community that these young couples want to live here and raise their kids here.

My son will be in college this time next year. I have no idea if he will one day return here to raise his own family. If he doesn’t, I know he will carry the best parts of Greenwood in his heart where ever he winds up. DBJ

Bill Burrus is the Sports Editor of the Greenwood Commonwealth. He is a 1987 graduate of Greenwood High School and life-long resident of Greenwood.