A Warm Southern Welcome in Oxford

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By Cindy Edwards

Southern hospitality is thriving in Oxford, Mississippi. People in the South pride themselves on extending a warm and friendly welcome to everyone that they meet. The town of Oxford is the epitome of this tradition. My family made the long journey from Savannah to Oxford to watch the Georgia Bulldogs play the Ole Miss Rebels in late September. Georgia football is one of my husband and son’s favorite activities, and as a bonus, I orchestrated the trip to qualify as an official college visit for my son.

A large group of Savannahians joined us on our tour of the Ole Miss campus. As we wandered around the beautiful grounds, I was impressed with the landscaping, the buildings, the people and the energy of the place. It was refreshing to see that kindness extended from the students who led the tour to the administration of the university.  I managed to get separated from our group, and a distinguished gentleman approached me to offer his assistance.  He was delightful, helpful and just happened to be the provost of the university.

The quaint town of Oxford was alive that evening. We wandered into a packed “local establishment” for a quick drink and a chance to check out some local entertainment. A brush with Fox News anchor and Ole Miss alumnus, Shepard Smith, was very exciting. We tried not to stare, but we just could not resist. My friend Anne approached him, and with true Southern charm, he welcomed her with kind words and a quick kiss on the cheek.

Saturday, the day of the game, was fabulous. The weather was perfect, and the Grove, the tailgating epicenter of Ole Miss, was filled with gracious people ready to welcome us with a sandwich, brownie or cold drink. Row after row of tents jammed the 10-acre field, and all were precisely lined up and decorated with flowers, chandeliers and big-screen televisions. It was evident from the wide range of ages that many families had been tailgating in the Grove for generations. Hospitality was the theme, and it seemed that the impending athletic event was just a small part of the celebration.


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A sampling of fan friendly decorations used at an Ole Miss tailgate.  Courtesy of Tanya McBride-Churchill.

At the game, we sat in the middle of Ole Miss fans. They really wanted to win but were still very friendly to us. Both sides congratulated each other on good plays and even though the game ended in Georgia’s favor, the Ole Miss supporters continued to be gracious in defeat. At the Grove’s postgame tailgate, it was all about food, fun and fellowship—for both teams’ fans.

The moral of this story: Win or lose, good sportsmanship outshines any athletic competition. And the Grove filled with tents, traditions and nice people is still about as Southern as it gets.


As always, thanks for reading.
Properly yours,
Cindy

Cindy Edwards embodies everything pretty, perky and proper about the South. She's a wife, mother, volunteer and freelance writer. Cindy volunteers enough hours to exhaust most by serving on the Board of Trustees for the Telfair Museums, the Savannah Book Festival Board of Directors and the University of Georgia Honors Advisory Board. She has also served on the Boards of the March of Dimes and Young Life Savannah. Cindy has been married to her college sweetheart, Dr. Joe Edwards III, for 25 years and is the proud mother of two sons: Joe IV, a senior at the University of Georgia, and Jack, a freshman at Ole Miss. No matter how busy, Cindy always makes time for a competitive game of bridge.
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Reader Comments:

54321

@ Bobbye. My son is going to Ole Miss and he loves it. Please be looking for my February post on Proper Bow ties.... it will include another trip to Oxford!!! Thanks, Cindy

By Cindy Edwards on February 04, 2013

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Cindy..if I had known you were coming...I would have baked a cake!! Am so glad you came to the game and got to see what all of us in Oxford, Mississippi are always bragging about!!! Great that you got to see the grove..this is a special place, not soon forgotten!! Am also glad you got to experience the kindness, hospitality, and genuine caring of the people of Oxford and Mississippi. Please come back and hope you will consider Ole Miss as a school for your son!! Sincerely, Ms Bobbye WIley

By Ms Bobbye Wiley on February 01, 2013

54321

What a wonderful place! So good to know that manners still exist. Thank you for sharing.

By Anonymous on March 11, 2012

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Ole Miss and Oxford, Mississippi, are the perfect examples of true "Southern" civilized living at its best.

By Barbara Victor on December 01, 2011

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I truly enjoyed reading your blog. Our family had actually the same experience at Ole Miss. The people are definitely true southerners. Also, Oxford is such a the lovely place!! One must visit!!!

By Cindi Long Aspinwall on November 11, 2011

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How fun to read an article about Ole Miss as my son, too, is considering this fine institution. Your comments have enouraged me to take a second look at this oozing with Southern tradition and manners school! Enjoyed it thoroughly!

By Amy Smith on November 10, 2011

54321

I have enjoy your information so much and think the world or at leaat the US should pay more attention. I am nearly 68,can not believe that, and find it amazing how manners have disembled. We all new to be refreshed in everything. Sometimes I feel like my mind is a computer, or a roller disk. I have an inome tax office and I am amazed, how many people just call, blurt out everything not even telling who they are. I have an answering machine announcing when I am open and to call at that time, most times it is hangups or a lot of garble throught noise in the background or they are talking to others in the background or their garbled voices. NO ONE THINKS. I don't like a machine answering my call and sitting there for an hour or so by the time I have gotten someone I have forgotten why I called in the first place. My time is valuable to me at any rate. Thank you BJ

By Bettigene Norris on November 07, 2011

54321

Really enjoyed reading this post (and your wonderful blog on the lost art of etiquette)! Could those watermelons be any cuter?! I was fortunate enough to travel with our football team to Oxford when we played there 4 seasons ago...Tailgating and gameday is a passion of mine and Ole Miss' legendary party on the Grove did not disappoint. Hoping to refer to this great Gameday post soon on my blog, Gameday Style. www.livingforgameday.blogspot.com

By Gameday Style on November 02, 2011

54321

You have such a gift! After reading this I felt like I had traveled with you. What a wonderful journey. Thank you for sharing.

By Kristin Boylston on October 19, 2011

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I could not think of a more perfect person to write this fantastic blog! Cindy thank you for such a wonderful blog I just adore reading it!

By courtney buntin victor on October 13, 2011

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Cindy...Loved reading your article. How wonderful to be treated so gracious as the opponent! Any Bulldawg fan certainly knows when traveling to an away game that is always not the case. Your attention to every detail during your visit made me feel like I was actually there. Definitely sounds like "Southern Grace and Manners" are definitely alive and well at the University of Mississippi... Beth

By Beth Owens on October 13, 2011

54321

I love the south with its traditions and class.

By iron lily on October 13, 2011

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Hi, Cindy. I really, truly enjoyed your blog. I have had the pleasure of visiting Ole Miss, and you're right--Oxford is about as Southern as it gets with its tradition and hospitality. Wonderful, warm folks are there. How refreshing that sportsmanship reigns above all. I've gotta say, though, that I'm relieved our DAWGS won the game!

By Viki Curtis on October 12, 2011

54321

Cindy is a beautiful, gracious, southern belle and such an asset to Savannah.

By Joey Schwatz on October 11, 2011

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I now plan to make Ole Miss a must see for my college bound daughter. Thank you so much for the story on this beautiful college town filled with such lovely people.

By M. Lewis on October 11, 2011

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Cindy Your articles are always RIGHT ON! How very much our world could learn from good sportsmanship and a true accepting attitude. We may not be able to change the outcome of things, on occassion, but we can certainly control the way we handle them with a positive and loving attitude. Thank you for always sharing honestly and perfectly those things that we should already know but need reminding. Carolyn

By Carolyn Nowell on October 11, 2011

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Cindy, As always, I thoroughly enjoyed your blog post! My husband and I were also in the grove for the GA/Ole Miss game and loved all the Ole Miss fans we spent time with. They were clearly there for the celebration and fanfare that IS college football in the South! Thanks again sharing your blog with us! I anxiously await your next entry!

By Ginny Rice on October 11, 2011

54321

Paula, I have always loved your shows and enjoyed many of your recipies. I just watched you on Oz. I too was a smoker and my husband for more years then I want to count ( I am now 59) but after my first grandson was born I knew I did not want him to know I smoked. I had tried several times to quit before and I tried all the things I could think of. Finally my brother told me about Chantax. Well let me tell you I quit 3 years ago and my husband quit 6 months after I did on it. You can still smoke the 1st week you are on it. But after that week you really do not want it. I know Dr.Oz suggested Wellburtrin, which I did try but I had an allergic reaction to you may not and it could work for you, but I really thought the Chantax was the best thing. Good luck to you and I hope you get this. I will say some prayers for you and I hope it works for you. Continue your wonderful recipies. Love you, Pam Derrick

By Pam on October 11, 2011

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Look forward to your articles. Can't wait for the next one!

By Linda on October 11, 2011

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Sounds like a wonderful time in a beautiful place! A delight to read as always.

By Michelle on October 10, 2011

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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
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Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
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I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
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Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
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