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Dinner at Rowan Oak

Photo by Jack Cofield (c) The Cofield Collection - The Center for the Study of Southern Culture - The University of Mississippi
Photo by Jack Cofield (c) The Cofield Collection – The Center for the Study of Southern Culture – The University of Mississippi

When I got old enough to realize that William Faulkner was famous, and that my dad and grandfather knew the man, I ask dad what Mr. Faulkner was like. Did he talk alot? Was he funny…or serious and quiet? What was he like to be around? Dad thought for a minute then told me the following story…

One day Mrs. Faulkner called and invited dad to dinner at Rowan Oak. It was just the 3 of them and as they were finishing their meal there was a knock at the front door. It seems there was a neighbor who, since Mr. Faulkner had become famous, would think of some reason to show up unannounced. This time she was there to return some sugar she had borrowed earlier. The woman invited herself in and sat down at the table and began to talk. Dad said that after a few minutes Mr. Faulkner, looking bored, just got up and walked out.

A few minutes later dad needed to use the restroom. He sat there a few more minutes then stood up and excused himself. Since he didnt know his way around the house he just walked out the same way Mr. Faulkner had. He ended up in the kitchen and could see Mr. Faulkner through the screen door, standing in the back yard. Dad leaned out the door and ask where the bathroom was. Mr. Faulkner paused, grinned, pointed around the corner of the house and said, “Over yonder.” Dad thought it seemed odd but he stepped into the yard and gave Mr. Faulkner a questioning look. Grinning, Mr. Faulkner nodded and again pointed around the corner of the house. So dad stepped around the corner and stopped…and grinned too. There in the middle of the carport was a big puddle.

John Cofield

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