Greetings From: Leland, MS

Kermit the Frog waves from a window of the Jim Henson Delta Boyhood Exhibit in Leland, Mississippi.

by Michael Boyink / mike@douglascountyherald.com

B.B. King. Muddy Waters. Howlin’ Wolf. Kermit the Frog. Sonny Boy Williamson. Elmore James. Robert Johnson.

You may think this is the easiest version of the old Sesame Street skit “which one of these is not like the other?”

But maybe Kermit isn’t so out of place in that list after all?

Everyone in that list is a musician famously associated with a color.

Most of them blue.

B.B. King sang nobody loved him but his mother, but she could be jivin’ too. 

Robert Johnson sang that all his love was in vain.

Howlin’ Wolf sang that his health was fading and he was going down slow.

And Kermit?

Green, of course.

Which, he sang, it wasn’t easy being. 

Does that make it a blues song about being green? If so, there’s a good reason for it.

Because Kermit was spawned on the bayou.

The green performer comes from the Mississippi Delta along with all the other famous bluesmen on that list.

Leland, Mississippi is a Mississippi River town. Two hours north is Memphis. Four hours south is New Orleans. Leland is just off Highway 61, aka the “Blues Highway.” 

Deer creek runs next to the Exhibit building.

Johnny Winter spent part of his childhood there. The Highway 61 Blues Museum is there.

And Jim Henson grew up there.

Playing around Deer Creek.

Which had lizards. And turtles.

And frogs.

And a boyhood friend named Kermit.

In Leland, somewhere between 1936 and 1948, the seeds of a legend were planted. What flourished in Jim Henson’s mind became the original muppet.

A signed photo of Jim Henson and his Muppets from the wall of the Jim Henson Delta Boyhood Exhibit in Leland, Mississippi.

These days, Leland celebrates its Kermit history with the Jim Henson Museum and an annual “Frogfest”.

The museum sits on Deer Creek. It’s a humbly-sized tribute in this day and age of global mouse-ear brands. It has a small seating area to view a movie, a diorama containing an original Kermit, other displays of  Jim Henson memorabilia, and a small gift shop.

Kermits abound in the Exhibit giftstore.

It’s not a place for ego. Or schemers. Or haters.

It’s a place for lovers. 

And dreamers.

And Kermit.

The Jim Henson Delta Boyhood Exhibit is open Monday through Saturday and is free to the public. Learn more at birthplaceofthefrog.org.