Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dateline: Oxford, Mississippi

Square Books
Oxford, Mississippi

After a six hour drive to Jackson, Tennessee, we pulled into a parking spot right across from the Courthouse. In looking for a place to eat, we stumbled upon our first bookstore, Something to Read. It and Main Street Publishing are owned by one d n english. The store carries books by local writers. It was here that we met Lisa who gave us excellent directions to Oxford and sent us off to The Painted Lady for lunch.

On the way to the restaurant we discovered The Rockabilly Museum with its curator Henry. Now Henry was a hoot. He knew all the guys, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Charlie Rich, and of course Elvis. Life-size portraits of the fellows and Miss Brenda Lee hang side by side on the wall behind the bandstand. Henry insisted I play the drums using sticks autographed by someone whose name I have already forgotten. Henry also encouraged us to write a message on the wall - along with others who had visited the site. Outside the museum, a two-story mural featured Carl Perkins and more rockabilly stars and of all people: Paul McCartney.

When Henry learned I was a writer, he showed me a profile of himself that was written up in the newest issue of the University of Memphis magazine. I had him autograph the page and he gave me a copy. We love Henry.

Lunch at the Lady was fine. Pork tenderloin sandwich for me and chicken salad for Rose. Then it was off to Oxford. A scenic two-hour drive on a blue highway. I was so glad to get off the interstate.

In Oxford, we frantically looked for a coffee shop to get an afternoon hit of espresso. Found High Point Coffee just off the Square and felt much revived after this little break. On to the Inn at Ole Miss and a much-deserved 60-minute siesta.

Back to the Square with its great Southern white Courthouse. Talked to Allen at Square Books. I found a perfect journal with a library pictured on its cover for my autograph book. I thought it would be fun to get the signatures of booksellers we meet on the trip and anyone else of interest. I had Allen sign and date it and he wrote his book recommendation:  The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I also bought a Square Books book bag to carry all my treasures.

Rose chose a journal with a typewriter on its cover for her autograph book and a Square Book coffee mug with a quotation from Miss Eudora Welty.

We then crossed the Square to Ya-Ya's Yogurt. It is all self-serve and quite the busy place. You pick your flavor or flavors, fill your cup, and add any toppings. Your treat gets weighed and that determines how much you pay.

We sat on a bench outside and watched the evening come into town. I held the pink leash of a little white fluff of fur for a young girl who wanted a yogurt but couldn't take her dog into the shop. The dog was very well behaved. It had an odd name: Citi, like citizen or so her young owner explained.

Another jaunt back across the Square to Off Square Books which is the remaindered and used book branch of Square Books. It is overseen by Adam. By now we could barely think, so we told Adam we would be back tomorrow and he could sign our autograph books.

And so to bed.

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