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10s of Oxford: Cooking, Charity and Writing

We were swept up in celebrating Ole Miss Rebels’ victories over Bama andAggies but we haven’t forgotten the wonderful ladies who give Oxford its personality. These ladies are inspirational in their work and we celebrate them every bit as much as we celebrate our Rebel teams.

Gracie Annette Dunn
Gracie Annette Dunn

Gracie Annette Dunn is the head chef dishing out soul food complete with veggies at Route 6. She has been cooking since she was thirteen and believes in spreading joy through feeding people.
“I invite my neighbors over to eat a lot,” Dunn said in a interview, “I like to feed everyone.”
She brainstorms recipes and take them as they come to her. She wakes up early in the morning and cooks enough food to last the restaurant until 8 p.m. She once owned a restaurant: Grace’s Restaurant and Catering in Oxford in 2010. Those who did not have a chance to try her cuisine out at that restaurant can come by Route 6 and enjoy some of her grandmotherly cooking during the Homecoming Weekend.

Alice Ricks (left) and Katherine Drinkwater (right)
Alice Ricks (left) and Katherine Drinkwater (right)

Alice Ricks came to Oxford last year from the San Francisco Bay area as United Way’s director. She has a specific mission for the Oxford location: “To improve lives and meet community needs by united people with resources: quality education, good health and financial stability.
Katherine Drinkwater also came to Oxford recently from New Orleans to be the assistant director of United Way. Both her and Ricks are the only full-time employees of United Way of Lafayette County. They both work to raise funds to help the local causes and are grateful for every help that came to United Way.
Ricks said, “Our donors and volunteers come from every income level and walk of life. We have people who donate as much as $10,000 annually and others who proudly send in $10 a month. If it’s meaningful to you, it’s meaningful to us.”
United Way funding supports a wide variety of programs, including after-school and summer programs, programs to help families get back on their feet during tough times or after disasters, and programs to ensure that people have the health care and medicine they need. United Way also works with Volunteer Oxford, Schools of Education and Social Work and College of Liberal Arts and the McLean Institute for Public Service & Community Engagement. It is also the leading agency in LOU Excel by 5 Coalition which works with parents and childcare providers in giving the young children the best possible start in their lives.
Just last month the United Way of Lafayette Co. had a great start in fundraising. Here’s to applauding these hardworking ladies.

Lisa Howorth
Lisa Howorth
Photo courtesy Lauren Wood, Mud & Magnolias

Lisa Howorth is the author of Flying Shoes, a fiction yet near factual book set in Oxford. An example of the Oxonian setting is her character L. B. who sits in his gold Dodge truck with a lit cigarette precariously stuck to his bottom lip. Readers will picture Larry Brown as the scene unfolds.
The book summary: In “Flying Shoes,” Mary Byrd Thorton, a Mississippian, learns from the Richmond police urgent new information about her nine-year-old stepbrother’s homicide, on Mother’s Day in 1966.
It took her 20 years to finish writing the book as she juggled three children with working as the librarian at University of Mississippi before working at Square books. Her husband, Richard Howorth, was even the mayor of Oxford for a spell and so on. She wrote the novel on yellow legal pads.
She is also the co-founder of Square Books with her husband, Richard Howorth in 1979. The Howorths are well-known for having famous novelists reside at their large purple house off 13th Street near the square.
Those who remember Mamacita, the cat who resided at Off-Square Books, would be happy to know that it was Lisa Howorth who first brought Mamacita to Square Books.

The article was updated on May 4, 2015 to properly credit the photographer of Lisa Howorth’s picture.
Callie Daniels is a staff reporter at HottyToddy.com. For comments, criticisms and/or corrections email callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com

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