At a board meeting for Thacker Mountain Radio, we were brainstorming ideas for a Silent Auction as part of our fundraiser event. Having done Ghost Tours in New Orleans and London, I had the bright idea of doing one in Oxford and auctioning it off. What seemed simple has turned into a huge logistical operation. Trying to get food preparers, drink makers, story tellers and interns all to the place at the right time and stay within the time limit we had budgeted for the Double Decker Bus would have challenged Trent Lott to “herd those cats.”
It will all come together Friday night as we begin out tour at the beautiful home of Dorothy Lee Tatum, Ammadelle, at 6 p.m. There our group of 20 tourists and their guides will be served with sherry and homemade cheese straws. Tim Tatum will tell the story of the ghost of Ammadelle.
From there we are bused around town with John Cofield manning the mic and regaling us with tales of old Oxford, to St Peter’s cemetery where we will be served a Bourbon Punch worthy of the man whose grave we are visiting and Pimento Cheese Sliders from the brand new Sister Shubert’s cookbook by none other than the editor of that book, Shelia Thomas. As we make our way to the Faulkner plot we meet the oldest living Faulkner with a U in his name, Rusty Faulkner who will tell the story of the unmarked grave in this plot and the restless spirit that now roams looking for the missing headstone.
Back on the bus we head to Cedar Oaks where the ladies of Cedar Oaks have prepared Mulled Wine from an old recipe of the house along with finger sandwiches prepared by members of the Board of Thacker. Dianne Fergusson will tell us about discovering the skeleton in the basement of the house and the spirit that roams those halls.
Our next stop is the home of Miss Maud Faulkner, mother of William Faulkner. Here we will be served William Faulkner favorite sailing drink, A Black Velvet, along with bowls of hot chili and bread donated by McAllister’s. Our host, Larry Wells, husband of the late Dean Faulkner Wells, has an amazing story to tell of both he and his late wife being visited by the late William Faulkner at the same time.
The last stop on the tour will be our big finish. As we depart the bus at Rowan Oak, everyone will receive a glass with just a little champagne. They will follow me down the drive as I relate my childhood experience playing at Rowan Oak and listening to “Pappy” tell the ghost stories. As we grew up we would come to his house just before midnight on New Year’s Eve. He would pour a little champagne in each glass and we would file around the grave in his front yard where he would make a toast to the one buried there. Then we will proceed to the house for more champagne and delicious Petit Fours provided by Board members and listen to the ghost stories of Rowan Oak by the one and only Bill Griffith, curator of Rowan Oak.
Regretfully we must board the bus for the return trip to stay within our time frame. It is my hope that this tour will be so much fun that next year people will be fighting to bid on it. However, if we have it next year, I may have to call on an expert for herding cats.
Kaye Bryant is a Thacker Mountain Radio board member and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.