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Cofield On Oxford — My Grove

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Andy Stuart and Jim Stephens – Photo courtesy Ed Meek

To me, no two friends, or family, mean Ole Miss football tailgating more than these two.
Andy (left) and Connie and their little boys, Drew and Josh, would drive over from Tupelo on Saturday mornings. My mom would send out a big platter of deviled eggs. We’d pop the trunk and set up a card table, haul out the ice chest and the chicken, and it was on!
Not too far away, Mom’s 1st cousin and Rebel extraordinaire, Jimmy (right), with Elizabeth and young son Kevin, were setting up their card table. And, at some point, I introduced these two and the rest is Grove history. Wesley & Paula Jones and their boys, Lincoln and Ryder, are also a founding family, as it were. Add Bear Horne, Chad Kea, Andy from Indy and a great cast of characters, and you have The Stephens Tent.
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“The Grove of Old” – OM fans drove directly to “their spot.” – Photo from Ole Miss annual

The years have passed. Little cousin Kevin graduates soon. Mom is gone now. Andy and Connie still drive over on Saturday mornings, but now with their young grandsons. And our little card table tucked away in the low trees across from Farley Hall has turned into a Rebel game day compound.
It’s not your Dad’s Grove anymore. We are 10-fold what we once were. The changes are recorded in the history of hundreds of great Ole Miss tents, through the seasons. And while the one-time stroll to “our spot” has turned into a mad dash to rival running ’49ers or Sooners, one thing will never change. That unique Ole Miss feeling when you walk up and spot the tent and see your Ole Miss buddies. And you pump your fist in the air, “Hotty Toddy!”
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2013 Sporting News: “The Holy Grail of Tailgating.” – Photo by Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics

 

Courtesy of John Cofield, a hottytoddy.com 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 johnbcofield@gmail.com.

 

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