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Birds of a Feather Flock Together: Jackson Gamebirds at Calton Hill

GameBirds
A Jackson couple’s dream of buying a home in Oxford for a weekend getaway grew into a flock of 14 families driving up north from Jackson for a little close to three hours to see their fellow Jacksonians at Calton Hill in Oxford.
Kathryn and Lee Sams met at University of Mississippi as second generation of Ole Miss graduates. Years later all three of their children attended University of Mississippi. The couple met in college but both of them have been going to Ole Miss home games since they were small and the home games were in Jackson at the Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Lee and Kathryn Sams (courtesy of the Sams)
Lee and Kathryn Sams (courtesy of the Sams)

“I remember being on the second row watching the game when Archie Manning broke his arm.” Kathryn Sams said, “I could see him talking about his injury. I was in junior high at the time. We were all so devastated for him.”
In college Sams never missed a football game as a Rebel cheerleader as she cheered on her team from the sidelines. Two of her most memorable games were the 1977 victory over Notre Dame who went on to become national champions that year and the 2001 game against Arkansas Razorbacks that stretched into seven overtimes.
The game against Notre Dame was on September 17, 1977 at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jackson. Ole Miss had lost to Alabama before and would lose to Southern Miss. after but in this game the Rebels wrestled the Fighting Irish to a look-at-it-twice final winning score of 20 – 13. Clarion Ledger has a six pages article of that day archived. Ole Miss was the only team to defeat Notre Dame that year.
The more recent game against the Razorbacks was in 2001 when Eli Manning was a sophomore quarterback. This game stretched out for four hours and 14 minutes from the 6:06 p.m. kickoff to its hard fought conclusion at 10:20 p.m. The numbers of that game are still available here on Ole Miss Football’s website.
The Sams had rented houses and stayed in hotels in Oxford but they always thought about just buying a residence in Oxford for the game weekends. “When our first child, Becker, was going off to college in 2004 we started looking a bit more actively for a place to buy in Oxford.” Kathryn Sams said, “Several of our friends had bought places already. My son’s friends’ family, Stephen and Beverly Weeks, had just bought a place at Calton Hill and told Becker there was one (condo) left for sale.”
CaltonHill
Kathryn drove up to Oxford for her son’s orientation and dropped by Calton Hill. She took to it right away. “We had already looked at other places over a year ago so I did have something to compare (Calton Hill) to.” Sams said, “I loved that it was a mile away from campus and there were not too many condos in the complex. My husband came up with me the next week and we bought one.”
Calton Hill is just one mile away from the Fraternity Row. It is just off Anderson Road and near Ashlawn, Esplanade Ridge and Aspen Ridge and Edinburg Place condos. The Calton Hill condos are brick units with one common wall per building. There are two or three bedroom units a family could choose. The living rooms in either bedroom unit are roomy with the floor plans akin to Esplanade Ridge layout. Here is a video made in 2012 by Blake Cannon of the Calton Hill.

The Sams saw there were a few condos left but not many. A friend, Kathleen Geary, called Kathryn while the Sams were on their way back to Jackson from closing the purchase on their condo. The next day the Gearys left and bought one at the Calton Hill too. “It happened to be right across from us,” said Kathryn Sams.
The Gearys weren’t the only Jackson friends taken by Kathryn’s recommendation on Calton Hills. “I talked to Rush and Lesley Mosby, and Johnny and Dianne Neely into buying one also.” Kathryn said, “I really should have been a realtor.”
The Sams discovered there were already several of their friends from Jackson who bought their condo at Calton Hill. “Then Rob and Mary Alice Blackmon, and Kirk and Evie Hines bought one and Brent Southern and his mother already had one.” Kathryn Sams said, “We were all very close to each other. It was so fun to arrive on Friday and see so many of your friends from Jackson. We spent a lot of time together on those weekends.”
Although some of the people they knew have since moved to places closer to the Square Kathryn said, “But I think none of us want to leave each other. In the last couple of years Tina and Tommy Ferguson, Vicki Lyn and Lamar Adams, and Libby and Mark Marley have since bought places. Our husbands all play golf together, and we all have such a good time together.”
The Jackson families get together before and after the games. “Everyone is invited,” said Kathryn Sams.
This past weekend the Sams took a break from tradition. “We have been in a tent for many, many years with about 25 families that change each year,” said Kathryn. “This was the year that we wanted to start doing our own thing. Our children came by to our tent when they were in college but now they have their own tents and do things with their friends so it was our time to do the same.”
“Have you ever visited?” Kathryn Sams said, “If you haven’t, you need to. (Ole Miss) is a really cool place.”
Callie Daniels is the staff reporter for HottyToddy.com. You can write her about this story at callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com.

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