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Southern Stories Abound in Local Publication: Oxford SO & SO

Richard Burns is the publisher and founder of Oxford SO & SO.
Richard Burns is the publisher and founder of Oxford SO & SO.

The South is home to natural storytellers with Oxford being home to Nobel Prize laureate William Faulkner. Naturally there are several publications chronicling Southern life from Garden&Gun to Southern Living. Joining those publications is an 11-year-old publication called The Oxford SO & SO, short for “Southern Owned & Southern Operated.”

Its publisher, Richard Burns, founded Oxford SO & SO in 2005 to address the disconnect between larger Southern-directed magazines and the local communities. He said he was inspired to found Oxford SO & SO “primarily because I found out that many people did not like the material published by large magazines identified as Southern magazines. Some writers with long biographies and degrees were not connecting with ordinary, educated Southerners.”

Note: To obtain an issue, contact Richard Burns at oxfordsoandso@yahoo.com or by mailing 1739 University Avenue (PMB #177), Oxford, Mississippi, 38655.

He published a “dummy issue” in May 2005, and published the first issue for November to December 2005.

Burns said, “After mailing the ‘dummy issue,’ I sort of felt it would not go over well until I got an email from an Oxford attorney who said she had received a copy at her law office in Oxford and had taken it to her main law office in Tupelo where she said the lawyers had read parts of it out loud and laughed at some things in it…not ‘derisively’ but thoroughly enjoying it.”

He describes Oxford SO & SO as “a hard copy G-rated bi-monthly nostalgia journal ‘telling it like it used to be in the South.'”

Oxford SO & SO has shared short stories full of “nostalgia, history, humor and fibs” in 47 issues with over 274 writers published. Among those writers include three federal judges with Oxford’s own Michael Mills, a Grammy-nominated Nashville songwriter Tom Kimmell, a Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Charles Ghinga, former University of Mississippi professor David Galef and locally-known poet and leader of Mississippi Prison Write Initiative Louis Bourgeois.

There are four regular writers for this publication: Jim Allen of Oxford who is a Korean War veteran and the former president of Yalobusha County Historical Society; Carl Wayne Hardeman of Collierville, Tennessee who contributes stories on gardening and nostalgia; Dave Hovey of Coffeeville who had a handful of books published before contributing to Oxford SO & SO; J.W. “Jay” Mitchell of Coldwater who grew up in Oxford and knew William Faulkner personally; Jimmie Pinnix of Grenada, a retired insurance man who used to deejay on the Grenada radio station WNAG where he gave John Maralscalco the title to famous hit “Good Golly Miss Dolly” by Little Richard; and finally, Bettye Galloway who is a long-time writer for Oxford SO & SO and the retired consultant of ElSohly Laboratories, Incorporated (ELI).

This writer said she first became acquainted with the publication when a copy appeared on her desk at her workplace one morning.

“I have no idea where it came from, but as I began to read it, I realized that it was a ‘down home’ compilation of memories that might otherwise be lost,” said Galloway.

She believes her first submission, entitled “Lafayette Springs,” was in the summer of 2008. In this story, she remembers a small community that existed over 60 years ago on a hill north of Highway 6 and northeast of the Yocona River.

Here is an excerpt of “Lafayette Springs:”

That was Lafayette Springs years ago. Maybe it was a simple place to look at, but it was beautiful to live in. It was a place of peace and small happenings—a place where you could sit by the light of a kerosene lamp and look at the riches of the world in a mail-order catalog—a place where baby chicks arrived in the post office inside cardboard boxes cut like Swiss cheese, with little beaks and fuzzy heads sticking out the holes and filling the post office with little cheepings—a place where a boy could climb to the top of the school house and look down on everyone he knew.

Galloway cites her childhood with her mother as inspiration for her stories.

Her story is a fine sample of numerous articles printed in Oxford SO & SO. In the most recent issue for May to June 2016, there are stories telling of most fun backroads to take through the Delta, a first tasting of an armadillo barbecue and the origins of old sayings such as “bring home the bacon” and “chewing the fat,” to name a few.

Anyone can submit to Oxford SO & SO by emailing oxfordsoandso@yahoo.com or mailing 1739 University Avenue (PMB #177), Oxford, Mississippi, 38655. Burns said that he isn’t looking for “long impressive resumes,” but for the ability to write fond memories without politics or profanity.

He said, “Some of the best writing has come from previously unpublished writers and I know of at least a dozen who later on in the last 10 years had several books published after.”

Oxford SO & SO is currently accepting submissions for its July to August issue. Burns said he plans to continue publishing Oxford SO & SO to give “older readers a rare hard copy nostalgia journal.”

Callie Daniels Bryant is the senior managing editor at HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com.

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