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John Cofield on Oxford – Ole Miss’ Timeless Charm


We take it for granted, yes we do. But we are reminded as we walk the Earth away from Ole Miss, that her beauty is rarely matched out here.

We call it home, and she calls all who have loved her home. This summer haze will clear and soon Ole Miss will be in the Grove once again. And our red and blue kids will jump and run and throw and catch and if you are lucky, you’ll recapture the thrill of your own Ole Miss childhood, if for only a glimpse.

And the warmth of your parents will be there with you too. Whether you are smiling at them there in their grandparenting years, or they are looking down proud of you in your parenting years, the spirit of your family’s name is there with y’all in the Grove when gathered in faith and fellowship for food, football and fun.

Old School Oxford walking up from the Depot onto campus and to Hemingway Stadium - Photo from the Hugh W. Shankle Collection, UM Libraries
Old School Oxford walking up from the Depot onto campus and to Hemingway Stadium – Photo from the Hugh W. Shankle Collection, UM Libraries

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, you walk away from all that. You follow the steps of champions on their walk to the Vaught. You’re back again with these guys, your boys, who “hell yes, damn right!” hold a cool spot on your life. You’ve known the thrill of great SEC road wins, and the agony of a long ride back from Starkville together. You’ve had victory steaks in New Orleans and Nashville. And you’ve sorely grabbed a drive-thru bag getting the hell out of Tuscaloosa together. You’ve yelled late Saturday night drunken Hotty Toddies in Gainesville. Y’all have almost gotten in a fight outside Tiger Stadium, three or four times, but all survived. Their kids call you uncle and yours do them likewise. And if the Rebs go bowling after Christmas, it’s these Rebs you’ll be yelling late night New Year’s Hotty Toddies with, and then counting the days until next season.

 Boure' balcony overlooking the Square - Photo from Tom Freeland's NMiss Commentor
Boure’ balcony overlooking the Square – Photo from Tom Freeland’s NMiss Commentor

Indeed, it does all add up to something more than pretty buildings, trees and flowers. It is something we cherish and do not take for granted. It is the spirit of the Ole Miss family. And we feel our best when the time comes for it to be renewed again. And we don’t have to lovingly look back to remember it either, we are aware of these special times, our special times, in real time. Into the Vaught we climb to watch our kids hit and run and throw and catch and if we’re lucky, we’ll carry sweet victory smiles away from this Ole Miss earth as we climb to a Square balcony table to toast our special time in real time.


John Cofield is 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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