Thursday, March 23, 2023

An Open Letter to Ole Miss, Part Two: The Little Things

I wrote an open letter back in April thanking Ole Miss for giving me the best college experience anyone could have ever asked for. I obviously meant every word of that letter, but even then I couldn’t cover every aspect of Ole Miss that I love. This isn’t meant to be a crappy sequel to that letter, and I still can’t name every little thing I would like to. Instead, this is just an elaboration and an insight as to why I love Ole Miss as much as I do.

Mike Houde (center) and his parents at 2014 Ole Miss graduation.

Everyone has heard a different rendition of the phrase, “It’s the little things in life…” As cliché and worn out as that phrase is, it’s true. It really is the little stuff that makes you truly appreciate things, especially a place like Ole Miss.
I stayed in Oxford through July to finish up required coursework after walking at graduation in May. Throughout the summer I did a lot of reflecting as to what the real factors are that will make me miss Ole Miss as much as I will as I head off to law school for the next chapter of my life.
Of course I’ll miss the major things. My girlfriend, Bailey, is cemented at the absolute top of the list. The lifelong friends I’ve made like Alex, Tyler, Will, Jake, Chamm and Dan. I’ll obviously miss football, baseball, campus itself, the Square and the Grove. But at the end of the day, it’s the little things within those big things that I’ll miss the most.
I’ll miss the lazy nights of driving aimlessly around Oxford with my girlfriend just because there was nothing better to do. I’ll miss sitting around and laughing at Sardis with my friends just having a beer or five. I’ll miss the kid-on-Christmas excitement of waking up on a Saturday morning knowing there’s a football game to attend.
I’ll miss hearing “From Dixie With Love” at the Library after a Rebel victory at an away game, or ever for that matter. I’ll miss walking among the student body during a class change, the myriad of students excited for knowledge, but just as excited for what their weekend plans are. I’ll miss going to Big Bad Breakfast on Sunday mornings, hoping their Pain Perdue could reverse the effects of Saturday night.
All these little things – of which I haven’t even scratched the surface – may have parallels else-where, yet, at the same time, they’re all unique to Ole Miss. There may be lakes near other schools, but they aren’t Sardis. There are bars at other schools, but they don’t equal the Square. There may be tailgating, but, well, we know we win that one.
I may not remember who Ole Miss played or the score of the first football game I went to, but I do remember what I was drinking and a joke my friend told as we were sitting under the tent in the Grove beforehand. It just goes to show that it really is the little stuff that sticks with you.
Ever since it hit me back in May that my time in Oxford was running out, every second there be-came sacred to me. I took the long way to class on a nice day just to walk past the Phi Mu fountain. I went to the Union to buy a drink I didn’t need just to walk past the Grove. I went out of my way to drive through campus just to reminisce on the great times I’ve spent at this magical university. Hopelessly nostalgic? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely.
Not everyone had the exact same experience I had at Ole Miss. Each person has their own unique little things that they hold dear. So whether you’ve recently or long-since become an alumni, or you’re still a student at Ole Miss, cherish them, whatever they may be. Those are the things from Ole Miss that will stay with you forever.
– Mike Houde, Ole Miss graduate, future lawyer, forever a Rebel