Published on May 26th, 2015 | by TLV News0
“My Kind of Town” by Shane Brown
I usually have to drive through Oxford on my way home from work. I work most counties and towns north of Oxford. A few southern counties are toured but mainly northern. Oxford is getting bigger every year. Traffic has become a huge problem and new faces have found the joy of what “my” Oxford use to be.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Oxford and its style. If you want some good food or hear a live band then you head up to town. If you wanna get a good book or hear a renowned author speak then you are in good company. But it has almost gotten too big for me. I appreciate what it offers and what others see and do in town. But I’d rather stay out in the county. I do take up good music, books, and food in Oxford, occasionally, but I take up more time in this open land we still cherish beyond the city line. Places where tractors cut up dust thirty feet in the air plowing a field, where lighting bugs float through the air dodging a child’s hand for a jar, places that hold families on a front porch and they wave as you drive by, dogs chase truck tires and snip at its tread, ponds are fished and waded, cattle graze tall Bermuda grass and swat flies off their backs with their tails, the Yocona River holds tight lined poles from the hands of my children and nieces and nephews; it’s where I was raised. And where I wanna stay.
I have several favorite views I like to look at in Lafayette County. I get this one in this picture every ride to my home in Tula. I remember as a child thinking it was probably the largest pond around. As I grew, I discovered more that matched its area or out-sized it. But regardless of that it holds more than some fish to me. It’s just a small part of this love I have for this county. And it never changes. Its face has looked the same since I first saw it. It only changes in the fall and winter to brown sage grass and back to a thick shiny green pasture in the spring and summer. I see it every day on my ride home. I make sure I look out and over my window and stare at its peace. Its serenity sits still and so do my thoughts.
I always pick at a buddy of mine that east of Lafayette County is the best side. The side that holds the Yocona and Tula and Denmark or Potlockney communities. I only say this because it’s the side I was raised on. It’s where I have spent most of my time. It’s a place where Gossetts and Colemans are still around; where that old name is still known. I know a few Browns who claim that spot too. I can head south of Lafayette County into Paris and eat at the old Harmon’s Restaurant. Its buffet holds Mississippi farmed-raised catfish and homemade hushpuppies that are dipped in ketchup on Saturday nights. Foshees and Gandys are still around those parts too. They raise children there just like they were raised. They hunt their land and fish their ponds. When it’s hot enough they strip down to shorts and boxers and swim in a pond to cool off.
When you leave south you can turn left and cut down some old back roads that hold a few gravel roads that lead you west of the county. My favorite west side community is Taylor. It has one of the finest restaurants in the south, Taylor Grocery. When I walk up I’m welcomed as family. Hands are shook and hugs are shared. Music blasts from a peavey amp staged in a corner from a one-man show. Catfish is fried and thick Angus steaks are devoured. You’ll also catch same old names here. Hewletts and Briscoes are familiar. Tatums and Shaws are always seen and will stay around.
Pull your truck north of Oxford and you end up in Abbeville or Hurricane. You’ll meet Klepzigs and Bufords that have been there all their life. They won’t leave their spot and don’t make plans to!
I’m proud to be from this county and I’m proud of our town that sits in the middle of us. I think we both share a little bit of enjoyment when either one jumps that city line for the county or we cross into that city from the county. But I’m gonna take the one out east every day to my roots. The one that takes me home. The one where I recognize a face or a name. It’s the one you take too. Roots branch out and get scattered, but they’re the things that hold everything together.