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I’ll Be Home For Christmas, You Can Count On Me …

Photo 1
For years Oxford’s signature Christmas theme was the canopy of colored lights on the Square

I’ll pack the car and leave from wherever I’m living and head back to Oxford, Mississippi, where the old Park Drive house I was raised in is standing once again. Jack and Martha Glenn and my heart are there, and so all is good.

Christmas Eve will find me making my way through Mississippi, for home. Seeing presents in back windows and waving children in the backseat windows makes you smile and I’m reminded that I’m blessed to have a home in Oxford, where the love light gleams. It’ll be just dark when I come over the hill and what to my wondering eyes should appear but the Lafayette County sign welcoming me in and the next 13-14 miles have their own vibe and float on by as I get closer. The lights of Oxford appear and I cut off an exit early to ride up Lamar to the Courthouse, just to see it all again. And riding under the Christmas lights of the Square I couldn’t be anymore home for Christmas. On past OHS and the Park and I’m back in the old neighborhood again, and I can just see it all again. And all is good.

Photo 2
John Cofield, Lynn Goodman, Glenn Cofield and Kathy Goodman – Dad took this shot at the Goodman’s home at 625 Park Drive, Oxford

Daddy is in the living room in his rocking chair, watching football and the driveway for everyone to arrive. Christmas music is coming from the kitchen where Momma’s working on the feast. Soon my old Granddaddy Cofield & Aunt Tommye Jane will be here and Grandmother and Grandfather Stephens will be coming up the driveway from New Albany, with a back seat stuffed with presents! All is good.

Ah and I’ll look down the path between the two houses and spy the Goodman’s walking up for a Christmas toddy. A tradition that’s lasted 40 something years now and continues to this day. Richard and Dad open a bottle of cold duck and we toast the new year. Sara’s smile and laughter will light up the whole house. Allis Blinder just called to say she’s coming over and mom’s getting together a big plate of goodies for Mr. & Mrs. Levy. Then all creatures in the house will stir and smile to hear Allis’ happy voice and see the twinkle in her eyes. All is good.

Photo 3
Allis Levy Blinder – Our “Second Mom”

All the while little Bess will be underfoot, looking wide eyed at all the people…and presents! Baby sister’s pile is the biggest. A knock at the back door and its Mark Havens looking for Glenn. They’re loading their brand new pellet rifles and about to head out. No squirrel within 6 houses in either direction is safe. All is good.

Later when the table is set we’ll gather round, Mom will light the candles and we’ll hold hands, and Jack will give thanks to the Lord for another year that our family has been healthy and safe. All is good.

As the family and fellowship that is all of our Oxford Christmas’ winds on down, Dad will ask, “Who wants to go riding and look at the Christmas lights?!” The five Cofields pile in the car and off we go. The first stop is the little house behind Handy Andy and last is always the grandeur of the Peddle’s home. We’ll ride through Ole Miss, peaceful and still, and make our way up to the Square and then Dad’ll say, “Let’s go home.” We’ll ride up tree lined Sisk Avenue on the way back and then up our tree lined hill to 627 Park Drive…another Christmas done.

 

Photo 4
The Cofields, 1984 – Photo by John Leslie

And it was a sweet Christmas sleep that the children of Oxford, Mississippi, fell off into, warm and safe in their beds. All was good. Yes…

CHRISTMAS EVE WILL FIND ME, WHERE THE LOVE LIGHT GLEAMS. I’LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS…IF ONLY IN MY DREAMS.

 John Cofield is a regular contributor to HottToddy.com

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