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SEP TEMBER 2020

OXFO R D

SPORTING Life Q UA I L CO N S E R VAT I O N , S K AT E B OA R D I N G S U CC E S S , OLE MISS RIFLE TE A M TAKES AIM , FRESH FARM FLOWERS & PURPOSEFUL POTTERY


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DEPA RTMENT S

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EVENTS:

OXFORD

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Letter From the Publisher

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Art-er Limits Fringe Festival

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Digital Details

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Summer Sunset Series

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Calendar

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Oxford Film Festival

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Shoutouts

EVENTS:

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Recipes: Apple Crumble

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Crossfit Hero Workout

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Ralph Wade Bruce Tournament

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FRC Food Giveaway

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Good Neighbor: Ace Atkins

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NORTHEAST

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F E AT U R E S

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FE ATURES 24 Board Life

Carter Riley hits the streets to share his sport, skateboarding.

30 Taking Aim

Following one of its best seasons ever, the impressive Ole Miss rifle team is prepared to take on the competition.

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36 A Good Shooter

Quail Hills Plantation, a 2,000-acre property in Coffeeville, is the legacy of a man who loved hunting and had a heart for conservation of the land and wildlife.

44 Spin Cycle

A retired north Mississippi doctor discovers his Zen in clay.

50 Grounded

A pharmacist discovers growing fresh flowers, herbs and vegetables on her Lee County farm brings a much-needed balance to her life.

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L E T T E R from the P U B L I S H E R There’s a particular childhood memory that sometimes surfaces this time of year. The setting? The long-awaited duck hunting season. It was an occasion that, for my father, seemed almost better than Christmas. And he was ready. His hunting gear would be nicely organized. He would check and double-check his shotguns to make certain they were in tip-top shape. The duck calls were in working order, and his waders were ready and waiting. When the dreaded alarm clock would sound, at some early hour before darkness faded into daylight, my father was wide awake and eager for what lay ahead. On his way out the door, he’d say, “I love you, Rachel, and I’ll be back about the time you wake up.”

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On one post-hunting afternoon, my father decided I needed to learn to shoot a BB gun. I was 10 years old with no interest in shooting a gun. But there we were, my father and I, standing in the front yard preparing for target practice. That remains, to this day, my only experience in shooting a gun. This month, we celebrate the life of sporting. You’ll learn about the Ole Miss women’s rifle team on page 30. These skilled women, with precise aim, have just completed one of their best seasons ever. Individually, and as a team, they are a force with which to reckon. And, of course, ducks are not the only fowl hunted in our region. On page 36, you’ll visit Quail Hills Plantation. Just a few miles outside Coffeeville, this 2,000-

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acre property is the rich legacy of a man sought after throughout his life as a guide and hunter in the business of bobwhite quail. But perhaps even more than he loved hunting, John Provine Bailey had a heart for conservation of the land and the wildlife. As we prepared this magazine, the memories my father and I shared about hunting and shooting more than 30 years ago came flooding back. And even more valuable are the lessons he taught me about this season of fall and the opportunities it brings. We hope you will enjoy this issue.

RACHEL M. WEST, PUBLISHER

@INVOXFORD @INVMAGA ZINE


PUBLISHERS Phil and Rachel West

EDITORIAL

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Emily Welly EXECUTIVE EDITOR Leslie Criss OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Mary Moreton CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Eileen Bailey Robyn Jackson Michaela Gibson Morris COPY EDITOR Ashley Arthur EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Abbey Edmonson

OFFICE

BUSINESS MANAGER Hollie Hilliard DISTRIBUTION Donald Courtney Brian Hilliard

ART

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Holly Vollor STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Joe Worthem CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Ole Miss Athletics Lisa Roberts

ADVERTISING

ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS Alise M. Emerson Leigh Lowery Lynn McElreath Moni Simpson Whitney Worsham Anna Zemek ADVERTISING DESIGNER Becca Pepper ADVERTISING INFORMATION ads@invitationoxford.com

MAIN OFFICE 662-234-4008

To subscribe to one year (10 issues) of Invitation Oxford or to buy an announcement, visit invitationoxford.com. To subscribe to one year (10 issues) of Invitation or to buy an announcement, visit invitationmag.com. To request a photographer at your event, email Mary at mary.invitation@gmail.com. Invitation Magazines respects the many diverse individuals and organizations that make up north Mississippi and strives to be inclusive and representative of all members of our community.

PLEASE RECYCLE THIS MAGAZINE

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D I G I T A L details E XC LU S I V E LY O N L I N E AT I N V I TAT I O N OX F O R D.C O M A N D I N V I TAT I O N M AG .C O M

S k at e Pa rk S e n sat io n

Turn to page 24 to read all about Carter Riley, a talented skateboarder who travels the country competing. You might spot him practicing his tricks around Tupelo and Oxford. Visit invitationoxford.com or invitationmag.com for video footage of Riley in action.

I n S e a s o n : A p ple s

B e t we e n t he L i ne s

H e re C o me s t he Br id a l I s s ue

It’s apple season! Turn to page 22 for a perfectly seasonal and scrumptious crumble. And check out our Friday Food Blog this month for more delicious apple recipes. Do you have a favorite dish? Share a photo of whatever you cook with apples this month on social media and be sure to tag #invitationoxford and #invitationmag in your posts!

Editor Leslie Criss — and occasional guest columnists — are writing regular “Between the Lines” columns for publication on our website. You don’t want to miss these touching stories that celebrate our communities and the people in them. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram or visit invitationoxford.com or invitationmag.com to read the latest Between the Lines columns.

Invitation Magazines’ annual bridal magazine will now be published in November! For details on how to purchase a custom wedding or engagement announcement for publication in the bridal issue, visit our websites at invitationoxford.com or invitationmag.com. To advertise in this very special magazine, call 662-234-4008 or email ads@invitationoxford.com.

CALENDAR AND EVENTS

Have an exciting event coming up? Visit our website and share the details on our online community calendar. There’s a chance photos from your event will be featured in an upcoming magazine!

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C O M M U N I T Y SEPTEMBER 2020

Greek Forum Fall 2020 SEPTEMBER 2

Farmers Markets ONGOING IN SEPTEMBER

Local farmers markets are abuzz this time of year with vendors selling fresh produce, baked goods, honey, flowers and more. In Oxford, check out Oxford Community Market on Tuesdays from 3 to 6:30 p.m. at the Old Armory Pavilion, and the MidTown Farmers’ Market in the Midtown Shopping Center on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7 to 11 a.m. In Tupelo, the Tupelo Farmers’ Depot takes place every Saturday morning from 6 a.m. to noon at 415 South Spring Street.

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Virtual Book Talk

The National Pan-Hellenic Council executive board hosts a required event for incoming students who want to participate in NPHC Greek organizations, the nine nationally recognized historically Black fraternities and sororities. For more information, contact Fraternity and Sorority Life at 662-915-7609. 6 p.m., University of Mississippi Student Union Ballroom. nphc.olemiss.edu

SEPTEMBER 1

Square Books hosts a virtual conversation with author Kiese Laymon and poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil via Zoom to discuss Nezhukumatathil’s book, “World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments.” The book is a collection of essays about the natural world. Register by emailing rsvp@squarebooks.com. 5:30 p.m. squarebooks.com

Full Moon SEPTEMBER 2

A full, harvest moon lights up the night sky.


Labor Day

YAC Art Crawl

SEPTEMBER 7

SEPTEMBER 22

Summer isn’t officially over yet, but Labor Day — which commemorates the contributions of the American worker to our communities — marks the unofficial start of fall.

The Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies sponsors the Sarahfest Art Show for the September Art Crawl. Start at any participating location and ride the bus to the University Museum, the Square, the University of Mississippi and the Powerhouse to see the art on display. 6-8 p.m.

Crossroads Book Group SEPTEMBER 8

Square Books sponsors a book discussion group meeting monthly via Zoom. Kiese Laymon and Eddie S. Glaude Jr. host a discussion about Glaude’s book, “Begin Again.” 5:30 p.m.

oxfordarts.com

squarebooks.com

Blues on the Porch Concert Series S E P T E M B E R 2 6

Tallahatchie Riverfest S E P T E M B E R 24-2 6

Grandparents Day SEP TEMBER 13

Take a moment to celebrate Grandma and Grandpa today.

The New Albany Main Street Association puts on this three-day festival celebrating literature, art, music and community with several activities such as a literary luncheon, a 5K race, an art market, a pet costume contest and a musical performance by Delta singer Steve Azar. Free. See website for times and locations. newalbanymainstreet.com

Garry Burnside performs in the closing concert of this monthly concert series. It takes place on the porch of an antebellum home, and participants are free to spread out on the lawn with their own chairs and picnic blankets. Free. Gates open at 7 p.m., concert starts at 7:30 p.m. 180 E. Park Ave., Holly Springs. bluesontheporch.com

Yom Kippur SEPTEMBER 27

The holiest day on the Jewish calendar, also known as the “Day of Atonement,” is observed with fasting and prayer.

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S H O U T O U T S Me r iwe t he r L e w i s My s t e r y

SIX SHOOTER STUDIOS

Clark Richey from Six Shooter Studios in Baldwyn has combined his passions for writing and history into one project: writing an intriguing mystery tale (based on true events) about a historic figure. The new screenplay, titled “Mysterious Circumstance,” will be brought to film with the help of Richey’s Six Shooter Studios partner Amye Gousset and local film producer Robbie Fisher. After reading Richey’s script about strange circumstances surrounding the death of explorer Meriwether Lewis, the prolific producer agreed to bring her company, Fisher Productions, based in Water Valley, into an association with Six Shooter Studios. The death of Meriwether Lewis has long been discussed, often with much debate, among historians, writers, physicians and

scientists. Lewis died in 1809 at Grinder’s Stand, an inn along the Natchez Trace, late in the evening, from a gunshot wound. Those are the facts, but after that, the story gets murky. Richey’s curiosity prodded him to research. “As I was jotting down findings, I realized that the discontinuities in the various stories of Lewis’s death could themselves be woven into a great story,” Richey said. “This one night in the life of Meriwether Lewis, his last one, is filled to the brim with layers of

mystery and intrigue. I just thought, ‘This is a story that needs to be made into a movie.’” Fisher and Richey have already begun preproduction work on the film along with co-producers Morgan Cutturini, a filmmaker, producer and teacher at Itawamba Community College, and Gousset, an experienced film and television actress and the general manager of Six Shooter Studios. Award-winning cinematographer Michael Williams is director of photography. The team hopes to begin shooting this fall.

ANNA ZEMEK

C o m mu n it y Mu ra l

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In the extreme heat of the Mississippi summer, something cool happened in downtown Tupelo, thanks to a partnership between the local Junior Auxiliary Provisional Class and the Haven Acres Boys and Girls Club. The ultimate goal of the project was to promote unity by celebrating diversity and by sharing peace and love. The multifaceted endeavor involved JA members virtually reading books that focused on unity to the kids at Boys and Girls Club and a virtual program by Major General Augustus Collin, Adjutant General of Mississippi, in which he spoke about making wise choices, following dreams and

preparing for the future. The final aspect of the project included Boys and Girls Club participants creating a mural in the alleyway between MLM Clothiers and Jason Warren & Associates Inc. Real Estate Group in downtown Tupelo. The colorful and meaningful mural was painted from sketches done by the kids while sharing their thoughts on unity, peace and diversity. “The children have been such a blessing and an inspiration to us,” JA member Jill West said. “It is our hope that this mural will have a lasting impact on our community and be a reminder of what unity looks like through the eyes of children.”


SHOUTOUTS

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HACHETTE BOOK GROUP

O x fo rd Aut ho r Bre at he s Ne w L i fe I nto ‘G at sby ’

For those who can’t get enough of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” especially the book’s narrator Nick Caraway, there’s good news. Oxford author Michael Farris Smith has penned a prequel to the famous novel. In “Nick,” readers will discover the man behind the narrator of “The Great Gatsby.” “Nick” is scheduled for a U.S. release date of Jan. 5, 2021. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Russo said of “Nick:” “Anybody who believes the war is over and the enemy surrenders and the troops come home, needs to read Michael Farris Smith’s masterful new novel ‘Nick.’ Its stark, unvarnished truth will haunt you.” Smith is an award-winning writer whose novels have appeared on Best of the Year lists in Esquire, Southern Living, Book Riot and numerous others. He has been a finalist for the Southern Book Prize, the Gold Dagger Award in the U.K., and the Grand Prix des Lectrices in France, and his essays have appeared in The New York Times, Bitter Southerner, Garden & Gun and more. SEPTEMBER 2020 | INVITATION

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A P P L E Crumble W E LC O M E FA L L B Y B A K I N G T H I S D E L E C TA B L E S E A S O N A L FAVO R I T E . RECIPE CONTRIBUTED AND PHOTOGR APHED BY L AUREN McELWAIN

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ew foods symbolize fall as perfectly as the apple. Whether you pick your own or purchase them at a farmers market or local grocery store, apples of all varieties are easily transformed into sweet baked treats that taste and smell like autumn. Invitation Magazines’ food blogger Lauren McElwain uses this basic recipe for apple crumble. For a twist on the traditional, she likes to experiment with adding unusual ingredients like white chocolate chips.

Food blogger Lauren McElwain is also founder and director of Cooking as a First Language, a Tupelo-based community organization that meets monthly so guest chefs from many countries can share authentic, international food and culture. Learn more by visiting @cookingasafirstlanguage on Instagram, and find more of her recipes at invitationoxford .com/food-blog or invitationmag.com/food-blog.

APPLE

What are you baking with apples this month? Share a picture of your favorite dish on social media, and be sure to tag #invitationoxford and #invitationmag!

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crumble

FILLING:

TOPPING:

6 apples, peeled and chopped ½ cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ teaspoon cinnamon Juice of ½ a lemon (about 1 tablespoon) 1 tablespoon butter

½ cup all-purpose flour 2/3 cup brown sugar 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats 1/3 cup chopped pecans 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest ½ teaspoon cinnamon ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ cup butter, melted 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, prepare the filling by tossing chopped apple with granulated sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and lemon juice. Set aside.

oats, pecans, lemon zest, cinnamon and salt. Stir in melted ¼ cup butter. Stir in white chocolate chips.

Add 1 tablespoon of butter to a deep-dish pie plate or casserole dish, and place in oven until butter melts. Meanwhile, in another medium bowl, make topping by stirring together flour, brown sugar,

Remove the hot baking dish from oven, and spread apple mixture evenly in baking dish. Evenly spread topping over apple mixture. Return the dish to oven, and bake for 45-60 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.


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BOAR D L IFE CARTER RILEY HITS THE STREETS TO SHARE HIS SPORT.

WRITTEN BY MICHAEL A GIBSON MORRIS

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PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM


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arter Riley’s competition schedule may have been a little tripped up by COVID-19, but it hasn’t kept him from catching air. Riley and his skateboard have been grinding, jumping and flipping as he has worked on two filming projects. The Belden native who now lives in Oxford is crossing his fingers that industry competitions will restart before 2021, but for now he’s enjoying the change of pace. “Filming is more like a camping trip,” Riley said. “You’re with your friends, just trying to have an adventure.” While points earned from skateboard competitions count toward global ranking, videos of skaters showing off their best tricks are an essential part of connecting with fans and sponsors, Riley said. For highlevel competitors, that means heading out on the streets to find challenging spots. Riley credits videographer and skateboarder Brandon Hayes with pushing his skateboarding to the next level. “He gave me the motivation to do more than just go out and skate in the park,” Riley said. People who catch Riley out skating are more likely to want to watch than ask him to leave. There’s an appreciation and curiosity about the sport, he said, not to mention some awe at seeing skaters land the kinds of tricks Riley and his friends attempt. “It’s definitely recognized more as a sport,” Riley said. Riley has also spent part of his down


time advocating for improvements to the Tupelo Skate Park, where he got his start. “I was playing soccer when (the Tupelo Skate Park) was getting built,” said Riley, who traded his cleats for a board. The park is now 16 years old and starting to show wear and tear. In the short term, Riley and other skaters have been working with Tupelo Parks and Recreation to propose an update to the Ballard Park facility. In the long term, they have conferred with the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau about a competition-level park that could draw contests to the city. “This park made me something,” Riley said. “I don’t want to be the last.” Riley’s great-grandmother Bobbie Scott took him to the Tupelo Skate Park every Saturday. He arrived to the youth group meetings at Mount Vernon Baptist Church early, so he could skate in the gym with others before and after the weekly program. “Not everyone can or wants to throw a ball,” Riley said. Riley’s career in skateboarding has reached new heights over the past two years, making him one of the first Mississippians to be recognized on the industry level. The line between amateur and pro in skateboarding is thin. Riley competes in amateur events but has sponsorships and

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wins prize money. The top amateurs make a living skateboarding and can compete in pro events. Skateboarders are typically considered pro when their sponsors create a skateboard and shoes with their names on them. Riley is in the top 1,000 street skaters in the world, according to theboardr.com, which compiles rankings based on industry competitions. In 2018, he placed fourth in the Grind for Life series competition in Austin, Texas, while skating with a broken wrist. He delayed surgery on his wrist so that he could participate in the Tampa AM competition, considered one of the industry’s elite events. “If you’re a professional athlete, you have to sacrifice your body,” Riley said. After surgery, he jumped back into competitive skateboarding. In October 2019, he placed third in the Red Bull Cornerstone semifinal in St. Louis. Once competitions resume, Riley expects to be back on the road. But northeast Mississippi will always be home. “I just realized how special Tupelo is,” Riley said. “I’m seeing the world for what it is, and I’m seeing Tupelo for what it is.” Visit invitationoxford.com or invitationmag.com to see Carter Riley in action on his skateboard.

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Taking Aim FOLLOWING ONE OF ITS BEST SEASONS EVER, THE IMPRESSIVE OLE MISS RIFLE TEAM IS PREPARED TO TAKE ON THE COMPETITION. WRITTEN BY ROBYN JACKSON PHOTOS PROVIDED BY OLE MISS ATHLE TICS

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hey might be big shots in the world of collegiate competitive shooting, but the members of the Ole Miss rifle team keep their eyes on the target and get the job done without much fanfare. “It’s just a sport that a lot of people know little about,” said Marsha Beasley, who is entering her fifth year as head coach. She coached eight NCAA-winning teams during her tenure at West Virginia. The Ole Miss rifle team is coming off one of its best seasons in program history and coping with the uncertainty of the 2020-21 season, which could be cut short or even canceled due to COVID-19. The virus has already had an effect. If things had gone as planned, 2017 graduate Ali Weisz would have competed in August at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Instead, the games were postponed until next year, and Weisz enlisted in the Army and attended basic training, something she had planned to do after the Olympics. She has a guaranteed place at the Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning, Georgia, on the U.S. Army Shooting Team. “With the Olympics getting postponed it was the best time to go without having to miss any big competitions!” Weisz wrote in an email to Beasley. Although she was disappointed to have her Olympic dreams put on hold, she’s already received good news: USA Shooting has notified Team USA that they will compete at the Olympics in 2021 without having to requalify. “That’s huge that somebody from Ole Miss made the Olympic

Rifle team member Abby Buesseler, a senior from Stacy, Minnesota, set several school records last season and qualified for the NCAA Rifle Championships.

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team,” Beasley said. “That’s the kind of thing that helps recruiting. I think we’ve worked hard to create the environment that it is a good place to be, and a good place to develop your skills.” Last school year, as a junior, Abby Buesseler qualified for smallbore at the NCAA Rifle Championships in Lexington, Kentucky, in March, but the competition was canceled the day before it was to begin due to COVID-19. “It was frustrating at the time, but I feel like I prepared enough that I was happy with where it ended,” said Buesseler, 21, a biochemistry major. Buesseler set several school records last season, and she was named First Team for smallbore by the National Rifle Association. She was also named Second Team for smallbore and Third Team for aggregate by the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association. The Stacy, Minnesota, native discovered competitive shooting at a game fair in ninth grade. She and her identical twin sister, Dana, joined a junior club at the American Legion, and they grew up competing against each other. Dana now competes with the rifle team at Murray State University in Kentucky. Buesseler credits Beasley and assistant coach Jean-Pierre Lucas for pushing her to achieve goals she didn’t know were possible. “I love going to school here,” Buesseler said. “I really like the support I’ve gotten through athletics. Our academic advisor is super great, he’s always pushing us. Marsha and J.P., on the range, they’re pushing us. I never feel like I’m alone.” The Ole Miss rifle team enjoys the support of the University of Mississippi community, with a new attendance record of 84 spectators per match set last season. Home competitions are held at the team’s custom shooting range inside the National Guard Armory in Oxford. Continued on page 32

Junior Jillian Zakrzeski is poised to compete in rifle matches and scholastically this year.

MORE 2019-20 season highlights: The Rebels spent the entire regular season in the Top 10 of the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association poll, reaching as high as No. 5, a new best for the program. Freshman Kristen Derting finished sixth in her first smallbore competition at the Great America Rifle Conference Championships. It was the highest for a Rebel since 2012. The team recorded seven of the top 10 scores in school history, as well as 10 of the top 15 totals. Lucas was named Great America Rifle Conference Assistant Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons. Junior Abby Buesseler was inducted into Mortar Board honor society. Junior Kamilla Kisch was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi honor society, and sophomore Jillian Zakrzeski was named the Ole Miss Army ROTC Cadet of the Month for March. Nine members were named Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association Scholastic All-Americans. The team’s GPA for spring semester was 3.66, the best ever.

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Continued from page 31 NCAA rifle matches consist of two events, smallbore and air rifle. Each coach picks five shooters to compete, and the top four scores are added to determine the team score. In smallbore, .22-caliber rifles are fired at a distance of 50 feet. Twenty shots each are fired in kneeling, prone and standing positions in a time limit of 105 minutes. Compressed air rifles fire .177-caliber pellets at targets 10 meters away. During a 75-minute period, shooters fire 60 shots. The all-female Ole Miss team is one of about 29 rifle programs at U.S. colleges. Members hail from across the country, with one from Hungary set to join this year. Practice begins in September for the upcoming season. The team practices shooting five days a week for three hours, and they also do weight training and yoga. Cardio is important for shooters because they have to control their heart rate, timing it so they can take a shot between beats. “People say that shooting is 90% mental, and I’d agree with

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that,” Buesseler said. “When I get on the range, it gives me a break from that academic stress. It helps me learn to handle and cope with stress, and balancing academics, athletics and my personal life.” The first match of the 2020-21 season is set for Oct. 11. Ole Miss plans to test athletes weekly for COVID-19, and if they test positive, they will have to quarantine. “The hardest part is the unknown,” Beasley said. “Even if we have some matches canceled, each team member can work hard and continue to improve her skills. Team members can support each other and work to be ready for every competition opportunity. If we can do those things, we will have a great season.”

The Ole Miss rifle team is making a mark. Accomplishments in the 2019-2020 season included record-breaking scores; recognition for athletes and coaches by the Great American Rifle Conference and the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association; scholastic achievements and honors; an alum qualifying for the U.S. Olympic rifle team; and more.


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hen John Provine Bailey was a sixthgrader in Coffeeville, Mississippi, Latin was not his favorite subject. But he suffered through it, and to the joy of his parents, their boy scored a 76. Their parental pride took the form of a reward — a gun, a $4.85 special from Sears & Roebuck — that may well have paved the path to young Bailey’s future. “Daddy picked up a love for hunting and outdoors at a very early age,” said Jean Bailey Kirk, 88, one half of a pair of identical twin daughters born to Bailey and his wife, Catherine. Kirk’s sister Joan Sharbrough lives in Vicksburg. “When he was a young boy he would slip out of his bedroom window at night and walk out in the country, chasing coons and possums. He loved being afield.” Not only did Bailey love the hunt but also he realized early on the importance of the conservation of the land and of the species being hunted. For Bailey, that was quail. He didn’t go out and shoot haphazardly; he kept up with the dates of his hunts, the number of shots fired and the number of birds bagged. Bailey’s hunting diary is as heavy with hunting facts and figures as it is in pounds. He began recording the accounts of his hunts when he was 12, and continued to do so for 60 years. Bailey died in 1983 at age 75. The dry and yellowing pages of his well-preserved journal also mention the weather during each hunt and other factors that may have contributed to the decline or resurgence of the quail population through the years. Bailey’s diary remains one of the most complete records of hunting, hunting lore, and conservation of quail, duck and dove habitat in the world. The journal, a source of pride for Bailey’s daughters and his grandchildren, is kept in a safe place at Quail Hills Plantation, but it’s brought out with great pride to share with visitors. Continued on page 38

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SHOOT ER

QUAIL HILLS PL ANTATION, A 2,000-ACRE PROPERT Y IN COFFEEVILLE, IS THE LEGACY OF A MAN WHO LOVED HUNTING AND HAD A H E A R T F O R C O N S E R VAT I O N O F T H E L A N D A N D W I L D L I F E . WRITTEN BY LESLIE CRISS

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He worked hard during the fall harvest season, and by the time cotton was harvested, quail season had begun. — Jean Bailey Kirk

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The history of the land that became Quail Hills is as much a part of Bailey’s story as that Sears & Roebuck gun. After high school, Bailey attended for a time Mississippi A & M (now Mississippi State University), but his heart was on the hunt, and he did not finish college. Instead, he went to Greenwood in the heart of the Mississippi Delta to learn the cotton business from his uncle Brax Provine. “It was perfect for Daddy,” Kirk said. “He worked hard during the fall harvest season, and by the time cotton was harvested, quail season had begun.”

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Continued from page 36 In 1934, a pair of quail-loving, Detroit twins were in search of a good place to hunt. When they asked for the name of the best guide around, the answer came quickly and without hesitation: John Bailey. The brothers, Jerry and Tom Webber, were members of the family that owned and operated Hudson’s, which at that time was the second largest department store in America.The two built a small cabin near Bryant, Mississippi, not far from Coffeeville, with a kennel for their dogs, and Bailey became their hunting guide. “They’d come in every January to hunt quail,” Kirk said. “Then they told my daddy

to buy land for them to hunt on.” Bailey purchased for the Webbers 2,000 acres — the land he’d hunted as a child about four miles outside Coffeeville. And for a month every year for nearly three decades, Bailey would pick the Webbers and their hunting dogs up each morning in Bryant and drive them to hunt on the acreage that would later be named Quail Hills Plantation. “Daddy became great friends with the brothers through the years,” Kirk said. “They came from Detroit every year until they became too old to walk the property.” Continued on page 40


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When the Webber twins realized their hunting days were at an end, they gave their 2,000 acres in Yalobusha County to their friend and longtime hunting guide. And in 1960, Bailey built the lodge that continues today to provide a place for his daughters and their children and grandchildren to gather for quiet, country weekends or special family occasions, like Thanksgiving. Though the official name of the acreage is Quail Hills Plantation, most family members and close friends affectionately refer to it simply as “the farm.” When Bailey and his wife designed and built the lodge, all the materials that went into its construction came from the land, including the cedar paneling from trees Bailey selected and cut from his acreage. In one of the four bedrooms are the twin beds used by the Webber brothers at Holly House, the cabin in Bryant. In another, a large, locked safe serves as home to the hunting holy grail of the Bailey family. In addition to John Bailey’s diary, the safe holds a bevy of books and magazine articles published through the years about Bailey and his hunting prowess, penned by such famous outdoor writers as Nash Buckingham, George Bird Evans and Bill Tarrant.

Continued from page 38 Over the course of their close friendship, Buckingham and Bailey exchanged letters. At the time of Bailey’s death, he had received more than 360 letters from Buckingham, which led to Evans’ book, “Dear John: Nash Buckingham’s Letters to John Bailey.” Behind the lodge is a massive stone arch, erected by one of Kirk’s four children, John Kirk, who also designed and built his own house just down the gravel road from the lodge. The arch is the entrance into the family cemetery. Catherine Bailey was the first to be buried there in 1978, followed by her husband in 1983. Their twin daughters will someday be buried alongside their parents. Etched on Bailey’s headstone is perhaps the most perfect description for the tall, lanky hunter: “A Good Shooter.” “When my daughter Kathy was just a little girl, Daddy brought in a bag of quail one day,” Kirk said. “She got so excited and said, ‘Granddaddy is such a good shooter.’ Daddy was so tickled and said he wanted those words on his tombstone.” Also buried adjacent to the family cemetery are at least a dozen family pets, several of Bailey’s beloved bird dogs and three of his horses. Continued on page 42


the e bb a n d f l o w of the qu ail po p ul at io n The bobwhite quail may be best known for its distinctive call of “bob-WHITE.” But it’s also easily recognizable. The ground-dwelling bird is a streaked or mottled reddish-brown and white with a gray tail. Males have a distinctive dark brown cap and face with a white eye stripe and throat. Females are a bit different: The white is replaced by a yellowish brown, and the cap and face are lighter.

The quail population in Mississippi reached peak numbers in the 1940s and remained high through the early ’70s. Then it began to decline, and in the past three decades, the quail population has dropped tremendously. There are several reasons for the decline: predators, diseases, parasites, pesticides and, primarily, the loss of quality habitat. The best habitat for quail is a mix of bare ground, native clump grasses, annual weeds and woody cover. The birds also rely on seeds and insects for food. Humans working to improve the habitat can reverse the ebb of the quail population. There is some good news. The bobwhite quail population is currently on the rise in Wisconsin and Oklahoma. And in Yalobusha County at Quail Hills where John Provine Bailey hunted his entire life, the occasional quail is still heard and seen. Source: Mississippi State University Extension SEPTEMBER 2020 | INVITATION

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Through the decades that Bailey walked his wooded wonderland, he had a fun way of making hand-painted signs to mark special spots where specific memories were made. “Ann’s first quail” records the place granddaughter Ann Sharbrough had her first hunting success. The signs also served as reminders of specific hunting stories. There was another reason for Bailey’s signage, including his favorite: “One-Hoss Wagon.” “I’ve got these signs out here also because if I tell somebody a good place to hunt is down by the One-Hoss Wagon, he’ll know exactly where I mean,” Bailey told Nancy Darnell in an interview for The New South magazine in 1974. “If I said, ‘Go down to the north field,’ he might not know what I was talking about.” Bailey’s original signs have long disappeared, thanks to weather and wear. But his family, several years ago, had new signs made with plans to place them where Bailey once tacked them to the trees. The land and the lodge remain a part of a rich legacy passed from Bailey to his daughters, his grandchildren and the generations of family to come. “I wouldn’t take anything for growing up in Coffeeville, and the farm keeps us connected with Coffeeville,” Kirk said. “It’s not just a farm, though. It’s so much more to me. Even before the lodge was built it was such a treat to go to the land.” “And now Daddy’s grandchildren love it so much too, they take care of it and spend time there. It’s a special place.” The sprawling land at Quail Hills in Coffeeville has been a special place to the Bailey family since the 1920s when, as a child, family patriarch John Provine Bailey began hunting on it. In 1960, after taking ownership of the land, Bailey built a lodge on it that still serves as a family respite and home to special items including Bailey’s comprehensive personal hunting journal.

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Continued from page 40

I've got these signs out here also because if I tell somebody a good place to hunt is down by the One-Hoss Wagon, he'll know exactly where I mean. — John Bailey


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Spin Cycle A RETIRED NORTH MISSISSIPPI DOCTOR D I S C O V E R S H I S Z E N I N C L AY. WRITTEN BY MICHAEL A GIBSON MORRIS PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

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n a garage workshop in west Tupelo, bowls, platters, mugs and vases emerge from blocks of clay and the imagination of Ken Kellum. On the spinning wheel, they rise, fall and morph with a sprinkle of water and a shift of Kellum’s hands. “It’s very mindful,” the retired physician said. “You lose yourself in the clay… it’s hard to center a pot if you’re not centered yourself.” When the walls of a pot collapse on the wheel, a mug breaks during firing or a platter drops and shatters, that’s just part of the creation process, Kellum said. “My motto is if you mess up, nobody dies,” Kellum said. “That’s very refreshing.”

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source Kellum first felt the pull of pottery at the annual Chimneyville Arts Festival in Jackson. When he and his wife, Laura, started dating, they began attending the festival, which became a tradition that lasted for years. In the early days when money was tight, they would deliberate for hours to decide what one piece to buy together. Pottery was a favorite, but Kellum didn’t see himself as a future potter. “I never thought I could do it,” Kellum said. During his first year of medical training in New Orleans, he received a gift certificate for pottery lessons, and he was off and spinning. “The first time I did it, I fell in love,” Kellum said. During his kidney disease fellowship, he really dug into pottery, renting a wheel from his teacher. She even invited him to consider apprenticing, but Kellum found pottery meant more to him as a hobby than a career. He returned to his native Tupelo to take care of patients with chronic kidney disease. He and his wife, who is an occupational therapist, stayed busy with work and raising their two children. For stress relief and exercise, Kellum picked up running, building up to marathons in this spare time. Continued on page 46

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Continued from page 45

REDISCOVERY About four years ago, Kellum decided to dip his hands back in the clay. With a pottery wheel, kiln and shelves, he converted his garage into a studio. “I had to relearn a lot,” he said. When the kids went to bed, he would work out the frustrations of daily life in the clay. “You go out (to the garage) in a bad mood and come back in a good one,” Kellum said. “When you open the kiln, it’s like Christmas morning. You never know what you are going to get.” He approaches pottery like a mad scientist, testing to see what he can make the clay do and how to tweak chemistry to create the glazes. Using a technique from North Carolina, he has incorporated cobalt coloring into clay to create a swirl pattern in the finished piece. He’s currently working on perfecting a watering can that a friend challenged him to design. In early 2019, Kellum decided to retire from medicine and put most of his energy into pottery. He was accepted into the Mississippi Craftsmen Guild. While his plan to participate in Tupelo’s Gum Tree Festival was scuttled by COVID-19, he is holding onto hope that he will be able to exhibit at the Chimneyville Arts Festival this December. He’s excited about returning to the source of his pottery journey. “I just want to be there and talk to people,” he said. Continued on page 48

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KK POTTERY ON A

MISSION

Visit the “KK Pottery Fundraiser for Tupelo Children’s Mansion” page on Facebook to learn more about the sale of bowls to support the organization’s mission to help orphaned and disadvantaged children, which is ongoing through November.

Regional Rehabilitation Center will offer Ken Kellum’s bowls and jack-o-lanterns at regionalrehabcenter.com and on its Facebook page from Oct. 5-23. Proceeds will help the center, which provides physical, occupational and speech therapy services free of charge. SEPTEMBER 2020 | INVITATION

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Continued from page 46

SHARING HIS ART Kellum likes to give away his pieces. For him, there’s no reward in the business of marketing and selling his KK Pottery creations. “You are really doing me a favor by taking it,” Kellum said. Kellum also likes letting other people sell the pieces for a good cause. He started with benefits for the Kidney Foundation. When the Tupelo High School indoor percussion group needed a fundraiser, Kellum volunteered to make bowls. The group surprised him by selling 200 pieces. “They could have sold more, but we had to cut it off somewhere,” Kellum said. “That really gave me a lot of pleasure.” Beckie Stewart, a Tupelo foster-adoptive mom, is collaborating with Kellum to create pieces that will benefit the Tupelo Children’s Mansion this fall. “He’s such a sweetheart,” Stewart said. “He loves to help people.” Kellum said he is pleased to send his pottery out into the world. “I just like making it,” he said. “That gives me a lot of happiness.”

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Grounded

WRITTEN BY EILEEN BAILEY

A PHARMACIST DISCOVERS GROWING FRESH FLOWERS, HERBS AND VEGETABLES ON HER LEE COUNT Y FARM B R I N G S A M U C H-N E E D E D B A L A N C E T O H E R D AY S . |

PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

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ori Freeze sits at an outdoor table behind her white farmhouse. An unusually cool breeze stirs up the faint scent of basil and rosemary. Leaves from the towering tree near the driveway brush against each other and provide a soothing sound. A partially completed greenhouse nearby is constructed of various old windows, cedar shakes and old doors. Freeze plans to finish it with large doors on the side, a sink, a chandelier and a long table that will accommodate a big group of people. The greenhouse is the newest addition to Freeze’s Fresh Farm, located in the rolling hills of northwest Lee County. “Presence over perfection” is a mantra Freeze has repeated many times since she moved to Fresh Farm in August 2018 and began to make it her own. As soon as she took ownership of the farm, Freeze began researching growing techniques, types of flowers that she could grow and how her farm might morph into what she envisioned, including how she could share the land and her harvests with others. “This place is really good for me. It takes care of the worries of the world,” she said. “My intention and goal of this farm is to have people out here.” The Oxford native said as she was growing up, her mom grew flowers and roses, and her dad farmed, raising cattle and hogs. He also grew sunflowers and cut hay for the cattle. Now, Freeze, a mother of four grown children, said she finds a peace at the farm because it helps her focus on a new phase in her life. A pharmacist by profession, Freeze works three days a week and spends her SEPTEMBER 2020 | INVITATION

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days off working on the farm. “I love my job as a pharmacist, but this farm is a heavenly place,” she said. A fence surrounding the house provides a backdrop for raised beds that are home to herbs, colorful dahlias and a large concrete fountain that offers the melodious sound of running water. A birthday party recently took place on the paved patio in front of her barn. A dozen hens reside in that barn, scurrying to the side of their enclosure to greet visitors. Nearby, swings invite visitors young and old to enjoy a ride. But it is the rows of zinnias, cosmos, bachelor’s buttons, gladiolas, buzz buttons and sunflowers that are the showstoppers, even in late summer. While she’s hardpressed to name a single floral favorite, Freeze has found there are some that are not only fun to grow but also ideal for use in arrangements, like small button flowers and white lace flowers, which are beautiful fresh and can be dried. The flowers she grows are used in arrangements that are sold at Sera + Soul, a boutique on North Gloster Street in Tupelo that specializes in natural bath and body products. The arrangements and the types of flowers sold at the shop vary depending on the season. In her vegetable gardens, Freeze plants rows of basil near her tomatoes, and in the slight breeze the perfect combination of smells tantalizes taste buds. Soon the farm will also boast a variety of fall produce,

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including gourds and rows of pumpkins. Freeze said she loves trying new species of plants in the garden, which continues to be an experiment. “It has been such a fun process, and I have learned so much about farming,” she said. “I’ve even learned to drive a tractor.” Each season, Freeze tries something new. Creating flower arrangements is one new experience. This summer she also planted herbs and has made lavender syrup, rosemary salt and teas. A pond on Fresh Farm is the site of a bee box that Freeze has added for honey. While she does not have an organic designation, Freeze does not use chemicals on her produce or her flowers, which stretch

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for more than 20 feet in several beds. She lays down fabric cloth in the beds to help cut down on the weeds. With all the growing going on at her farm, Freeze has additional plans for the place she loves. It’s a perfect location for taking photos, and several photo shoots have been done on the property. Freeze also recently hosted a 50th birthday party for Rodney Stanford, a friend who helps out on the farm. She hopes others will consider Fresh Farm as a venue for their special events. Freeze views Fresh Farm as a family affair. Helping her when not in school are her four children: Reed, who is in medical school; Eliza, who is in grad school; and

Sidney and Bella, who are both pursuing undergraduate degrees. When cooler days finally arrive in northeast Mississippi, Freeze would like to host more events, like movie nights for kids and pumpkin picking. “The possibilities are endless,” she said. “I am so very thankful I moved out here and felt this grounding in my life … no pun intended. “I am thankful for God not just seeing me through all of life’s changes but showing himself through friends, family and even my farm.” To learn more about the farm, search for “Farm Fresh Tupelo” on Facebook or visit @freshfarmtupelo on Instagram.


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FRINGE FESTIVAL PHOTOGRAPHED BY ABBEY EDMONSON

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Oxford’s sixth annual Art-er Limits Fringe Festival offered theater, storytelling and dance at the Powerhouse as well as an art showcase on the Square the second weekend in August. The Aug. 9 Summer Sunset Series concert at the Old Armory Pavilion was also a part of the weekend festivities.

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1. Abby and Nick Bottesini 2. Wayne and Mary Margaret Andrews 3. Jeff and Hardy Allen 4. Steven and Erin Oeth 5. Jackson Lewis and Adam Davis 6. David Abraham and Amelia Clayshulte 7. Lily and Ella James with Brooks Ann Gaston and Allyn Bailey

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SUMMER SUNSET SERIES PHOTOGRAPHED BY ABBEY EDMONSON

On Sunday evenings in August, the Summer Sunset Series offered people an opportunity to gather outside at the Old Armory Pavilion in Oxford to listen to music and dance in a family-friendly setting. 1

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1. Emma, Cameron, Kurt and Kelly Autenreith with Melissa Jones 2. Sissy Neilson with Kim and Michael Youngblood and Ed Neilson 3. Katie Kaczmarz and Chad Croley 4. Linda Grisham and Gale Gurner 5. Gay and Steve Case 6. Amanda Fliflet and Max McDonaldson 7. Michelle, Don and Cas Harvey 8. Bruce and Carla Johnson with Linda Whitten

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OFF TO THE DRIVE-IN PHOTOGRAPHED BY ABBEY EDMONSON

Oxford Film Festival presented “How to Train Your Dragon” Aug. 13 in the Cannon Motors parking lot on Thacker Loop in Oxford. Drive-in movies are shown several nights a week in Oxford and Water Valley. For the schedule and OFF’s other year-round offerings, visit oxfordac.eventive.org.

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1. Adam and Able Davis 2. Catherine Adams and Michael Swann 3. Maya and Pravene Panickar 4. Madi White and Janetra Smith 5. Jason Jennings and Alexa Sinha 6. Laura Sanders and Christy Sims

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CROSSFIT HERO WORKOUT PHOTOGRAPHED BY LISA ROBERTS

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North Lee Crossfit in Saltillo was alive with activity on Aug. 8 for a Hero Workout to honor the life of Deputy Dylan Pickle. Pickle, 24, was killed July 26 in the line of duty. Monroe County Sheriff Kevin Crook and Deputies Zack Wilbanks, Tim Oswalt and Billy Richey took part.

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1. Haley Barnes, Wendy Marble and Chris Smith 2. Shanna Young with Adam and Hunter Miller and Mary Stewart 3. Brandi Sears, Haley Lackey, Angie Henry and Scott Caldwell 4. Chambliss Howell with Jennifer and Haley McGill 5. Dani Passmore, Diana Duffy and Sam Watson 6. Billy and Clark Richey, Kevin Crook, Tim Oswalt and Zack Wilbanks 7. Megan Bracken, Abby Chism, Marissa McDonald and Julie Lackey

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RALPH WADE BRUCE PHOTOGRAPHED BY LISA ROBERTS

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The Natchez Trace Golf Club played host in June to the 19th annual Ralph Wade Bruce Scholarship Golf Tournament. Bruce, who died in 2003, coached baseball and boys and girls basketball at Shannon High School from 1970 to 1993.

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1. Ben Meriweather, Jared Gray and Wesley Ethridge 2. Bob Buckley with Jacob and Jeff Hardin 3. Paul McCain, Scott Weatherly and Kelly Mims 4. Jacob, Johnny and Casey Bruce 5. Gary Lauderdale, Matt Robinson and Nick Barron 6. Jeff Reynolds, Jody Oswalt and Matt Turner

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7. Matt Baker, Gene McGinister, James Tally, James Brimm, Justin Kitchens and Lance Gordon 8. Wes Kloac, Blake Burress and John Porter 9. John and John Henry Kelly with Russ and Skip Howell, Jake Scott and Wesley Ethridge 10. Jeff Barnes, Jacob Bruce, Brandon Edwards, Terrell Davis, Dan Monaghan and Casey Bruce 11. Jimmy Hall with A.J. and Scottie Dillard and Dwayne and Brandon Stanford 12. Alan Hawkins, Jake Logan, Michael Shurden, Patrick White, Drew Heading and Josh Logan

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FRC FOOD GIVE AWAY PHOTOGRAPHED BY LISA ROBERTS

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The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi hosts its weekly food giveaway from 4 until 6 p.m. every Wednesday through December in the parking lot of the Tupelo Furniture Market. Two boxes (one dairy, one produce) are available to anyone in need, working or unemployed.

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1. Jayla Richey, Kimetra Bernard, Amanda Gonzelez and Eddie Bagonia 2. Amy Bratton and David Cole 3. Baylee Hallmark and Misty Applegate 4. Micha Foster, Cheryl Parker, Tony Corrie, Courtney Hawkins and Jesse Morris 5. Angela Johnson, Terry Stanford, Christi Webb, Bart Aguirre and Bill Blackwelder 6. Becky Michaels, Stephanie Moffett and Sherry Vaughn 7. Alicia Asters and Freddy Boyd 8. Deb Jones, Wes Asters, Denise Kelly and Becky DeVaughn

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N E I G H B O R ACE

INTERVIEWED BY LESLIE CRISS

ATKIN S |

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E

arlier this summer, it was announced that an HBO series will be developed based on Oxford author Ace Atkins’ Quinn Colson book series. Atkins’ latest novel “The Revelators,” the 10th in the series, came out in July, and he is currently finishing a new novel that will be out in November.

Q:

What can you tell us about the HBO series based on the Quinn Colson books? A: I’ve known about the deal for some time, but it was exciting to finally share it with readers. HBO bought the rights to all the Quinn Colson novels with a focus on creating a series. I can’t tell you much, but the first season has already been written.

Q: For those who might not be aware, what can you say about Quinn Colson and the book series? A: I created Quinn as a guy who returns home from war and wants to make a difference in his own community … The first book had him confront a racist militia group that had infested his home county. I like to think of Quinn as the classic American hero who stands up for what’s right. I think he exemplifies the best of the South … I’ve signed on to write at least two more (Quinn Colson books). I think (he) will be around for a long time to come. Q:

Will you be involved in this television project? Do you have any idea when it might be completed and aired for us to see? A: As a consulting producer, I can promise the show will stay true to the books and north Mississippi and Memphis. We had certainly hoped to be further along in the process by now. But all film/TV production has been shut down during the pandemic. We’re in a holding pattern on that front until we see some improvement.

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Q:

The books in this series are all set in Mississippi. Has there been any talk yet regarding where the television series might be filmed? A: I know the producer wants the show to look and feel authentic. Whether that means shooting in a Mississippi county that looks like Tibbehah County or in rural Georgia, I don’t know. I will certainly lobby for filming here, but ultimately those decisions are made higher up the food chain.

Q:

What is it about Oxford that makes it seem like a mecca for writers? A: Square Books and William Faulkner. When I first moved to Oxford, Larry Brown and Barry Hannah were here, and they became great pals. I was lucky to have known them. I think their spirit and Faulkner’s continues to inspire the many writers who make their homes here now. And having the best bookstore in the country doesn’t hurt either.


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