Thursday, August 18, 2022

Cofield on Oxford — The Run of the Place, Part IX

Everest awaited. The trip made easier now pushed along by the spirit of Oxford past.
Buck Collins nods from the door of his store. But, my earthly attempt just begun, each peddle needing force enough to rock the frame hard to starboard and port, before I could free a hand and look back. Old Buck has faded from view, but there’s Bette Garrett bringing an armload of flowers through the back door, she smiles big. Back by the gas tanks, old George Lynch looked but didn’t nod as I pick up speed. Faintly, the saw from Dailey’s lumber yard hums and the two-step back-beats thump for the circling skaters at the rink.

Photo 1
Bette’s Flowers, once Buck Collins store.

A sharp idea, a sharp right and a sharper look right, and across the lanes to Shipley’s I shoot. Further delay from the climb, further energy for the climb, jelly-filled donuts washed down with chocolate milk should have been enough. But, with equal parts pal and parent, fraction vicarious twinkle, Deanna put the icing on the day. With equal parts wonder lust and appreciated inclusion, the cake finished, and licking the left over icing off your fingers, you knew you were having more fun than anybody you’d ever known.
Photo 2
Ron and Deanna Denney, former owners of Shipley Donuts.

Still, Everest awaited. Adjusting my cap and pointing my Flyer toward the summit, Oxford’s spirit turns my head and mind back to the left for a moment, to the easy road and times left there. Noticed from the corner of my eye, Dan and Don give me a wave, right before a mustang full of the cool teenagers rolls to a stop in front of  Sherer’s. The smells of our childhood and the music of our teens drift across the Avenue from Dee’s and Pasquale’s, where countless Colonels and Chargers and Commodores are dancing in the moonlight of their well spent Oxford youth.
Photo 3
Dee’s Restaurant, later Pasquale’s Pizza.

Courtesy of John Cofield, a writer and one of Oxford’s leading folk historians. He is the son of renowned university photographer Jack Cofield. His grandfather, “Col.” J. R. Cofield, was William Faulkner’s personal photographer and for decades was Ole Miss yearbook photographer. Cofield attended Ole Miss as well. Contact John at

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