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FEBRUARY 2020

OXFO R D

WE PETS

Love O X F O R D |

FLOWERS

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THE ATER

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FOOTBALL

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ART


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I N

T H I S

I S S U E

FEBRUARY 2019

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DEPA RTMENT S

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EVENTS

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Letter From the Editor

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Jingle Bell Jam

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Digital Details

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Oxford Christmas Parade

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Calendar

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Junior Auxiliary Charity Ball

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Shoutouts

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Mid-Town Men: Holiday Hits

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Small Talk

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Holiday Ornament Auction

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Pet Rescue Resources

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Doors of Hope

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Wedding Announcement: Webb & Mossing

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Roxford Winter Jam

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Cookiepalooza

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Community Christmas

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CASAblanca NYE Party

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Recipes: Satsuma Marmalade-Filled King Cake

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Out & About

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I Am Oxford: Pearson Stevens, “Bolt”

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ON THE COVER

We Oxford! Thank you to JANE for providing the cute and comfy sweater on the cover of this issue. Stop by the store to purchase one of your own. 100% cotton Oxford-themed sweater made by 525 America and modeled by Lilly McElreath. PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM


F E AT U R E S

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FE ATURES 28 Top Dogs

Three toy fox terriers in Oxford have an impressive record at national competitions, with visions of Westminster on the horizon.

32 Blooms on the Boulevard

The Oxford Garden Club revives a 60-yearold beautification project.

36 A Season of Significance OHS Theatre prepares for the final curtain at Kayla Mize Auditorium.

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40 The Way It Was

Local folk artist J-MAN’s new series captures the essence of old Oxford.

46 Congratulations to

the Chargers!

The Oxford High School Chargers football team capped off a fantastic 2019 season by winning the Class 6A state championship.

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L E T T E R from the E D I T O R “Love many things,

for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is done well.” — Vincent Van Gogh Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” is one of my favorite paintings. Gazing at it I am transported, straight back to a hillside in Provence under a serene and starry sky. But really, all of his paintings are like that — there’s a magic about them. Van Gogh was a troubled soul who struggled with physical and mental ailments, but throughout his life, art sustained him. You can see and feel the love in his brushstrokes. This time of year, when we think about love, we tend to default to the romantic, Valentine’s Day kind, which is of course wonderful. But that’s just one aspect of love. Van Gogh reminds us that love informs so many moments in our lives. It transforms the commonplace into the extraordinary. It moves us to choose, to act. Love shapes us,

by what we do, into who we are. This issue is full of love manifest in many forms. Since the 1970s, Oxford High School theater students have trod the boards at what is now the Kayla Sue Mize Auditorium at Oxford Middle School. In April they’ll take the stage for the last time there before beginning rehearsals in the new fine arts building at OHS. Read about their “season of significance” starting on page 36. Even if you don’t love football, it’s hard not to become caught up in the spirit surrounding the OHS Chargers’ big win at the state championship. Turn to page 46 for a taste of the drive, dedicated coaching and love of the game that got them there, and find more online at invitationoxford.com. Most of us Southerners love snow. And back in December, we got some, reminding us, though briefly, that nothing is prettier than our Square in a snowfall — except maybe our streets in spring. Now it’s daffodil time, and along North Lamar there’ll be a golden sea of them, thanks to a recent rejuvenation of a project started 60

FOLLOW US

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@INVITATIONOXFORD

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years ago by the Oxford Garden Club (page 32). These folks do what they love, love what they do, and find ways to spread their love for all to enjoy. And speaking of our little town, take a look at local artist J-MAN’s paintings starting on page 40. They’ll take you straight back to your beloved old Oxford haunts, and just like with Van Gogh’s paintings, you can’t help but feel the love. We hope you’ll find something in these pages that speaks to whatever you love. And if you need any advice on the subject, please consult a kid — you’ll find some gems of wisdom in our new department, Small Talk (page 20). As another favorite artist, Charles Shultz, said, “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

ALLISON ESTES EXECUTIVE EDITOR

@INVOXFORD


PUBLISHERS Phil and Rachel West

EDITORIAL

EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Emily Welly EXECUTIVE EDITOR Allison Estes OPERATIONS DIRECTOR Mary Moreton CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Aleka Battista Andi Sherrill Bedsworth Edward Brown Sarah Hooper Ginny McCarley COPY EDITOR Ashley Arthur INTERN Abbey Edmonson

OFFICE

BUSINESS MANAGER Hollie Hilliard DISTRIBUTION Donald Courtney Brian Hilliard MAIN OFFICE 662-234-4008

ART

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Holly Vollor STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Joe Worthem CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Paul Gandy Brandall Laughlin Jessica Richardson Alex Sage Angel Smith Megan Wolfe CONTRIBUTING ILLUSTRATOR J-MAN SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR Janie Poulton

ADVERTISING

ADVERTISING CONSULTANTS Alise M. Emerson Leigh Lowery Lynn McElreath Moni Simpson Whitney Worsham Anna Zemek ADVERTISING DESIGNERS Paul Gandy Becca Pepper Hallie Thomas ADVERTISING INFORMATION ads@invitationoxford.com

To subscribe to one year (10 issues) of Invitation Oxford or to buy an announcement, visit invitationoxford.com. To request a photographer at your event, email Mary at mary.invitation@gmail.com. Invitation Oxford 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

Mo re A b out B olt

W i nt e r Wo nd e rl a nd

pet L O V E Thanks for sharing your pets with us! Keep posting your special pics and tag us or use #invitationoxford for a chance to be featured here in our next magazine.

Oxford Square

We can’t get enough of Pearson Stevens, the Oxford High School sophomore who dresses as the school mascot, Bolt, at school spirit and athletic events. An interview with him is on page 72, and you can read the complete story about him at invitationoxford.com.

Snow in the South is a rare treat that doesn’t last very long — except in pictures. This winter, share your favorite snowy snaps from around town or your travels to colder climates with us on social media and tag us or use #invitationoxford. Photo by Jim Hendrix.

C of ie ld Fau l k ne r C ol le c t io n

We a re t he C h a m p io n s

P E T : Rowan H U M A N : Leslie Cobb Pollan

Faulkner | 1940

Visit invitationoxford.com this month to view photos from the new softcover edition of “William Faulkner: The Cofield Collection” and read the review by Bob Guccione Jr., founder of the online travel magazine Wonderlust. Turn to page 18 for more on the book.

Congrats to the state champion Chargers! Flip to page 46 for some exciting pictures from the final game and the celebration that followed, and read more from the players at invitationoxford.com. Photo by Angel Smith.

CALENDAR AND EVENTS

Have an exciting event coming up? Visit our website and share the details on our online community calendar. Photos from your event might be featured in an upcoming magazine! FOLLOW US

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@INVITATIONOXFORD

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P E T : Luna | 3 years old H U M A N : Alex Drewrey Logan

@INVOXFORD


P E T : Benny H U M A N : Anne Threlkeld

P E T : Major Fitz | Adopted from MS Critterz H U M A N : Angel Whatley Smith

P E T : Boo Bunny H U M A N : Sarah Rose Lomenick

P E T : Miss Molly | 6 months old H U M A N : Keeana Styron Koenig

P E T : Kaya | 10 years old H U M A N : Kaitlyn Flowers

P E T : Tater | 15 years young H U M A N : Susan Hollis Peterson

P E T : Hollywood “Holly” Fast Chick H U M A N : Taylor Gillespie

P E T : Scout H U M A N : Drew Russell

P E T : Marshmellow H U M A N : Kyle Kimbriel Still

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CALENDAR

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L - O - U

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C OM M U N I T Y

C A L E N DA R Whitney Show

Author Jenn Shapland

FEBRUARY 1

FEBRUARY 10

This Chicago-native band brings its sophomore album, “Forever Turned Around,” to the Proud Larry’s stage. Japanese four-piece CHAI opens for them. Tickets $30. 9 p.m., Proud Larry’s.

Jenn Shapland, 2017 Pushcart Prize winner and professor at the Institute of American Indian Arts, debuts her genre-bending book, “My Autobiography of Carson McCullers.” Free. 5:30 p.m., Off Square Books.

proudlarrys.com

squarebooks.com

BLAIR HOBBS | SOUTHSIDE GALLERY

FEBRUARY 2020

Beginner’s Ballroom Dance Class

Artists’ Reception

FEBRUARY 3

FEBRUARY 15

Matt Williams and Jessica Richardson teach this five-week beginner class covering the basics of ballroom dance. Each week has a different dance, ranging from waltz to Argentine tango. See website for schedule and prices. 7-8 p.m., the Powerhouse.

A bird-themed exhibition thru Feb. 29 features work by several Oxford and Mississippi artists. Free. Artists’ reception 5-8 p.m. Southside Gallery. southsideartgallery.com

COURTESY OF FORD CENTER

oxfordarts.com

Empty Bowls Lunch

Plant-a-Tree Workshop

FEBRUA RY 13

FEBRUARY 16

Enjoy soup from one of over a dozen Oxford restaurants served in a locally handmade pottery bowl of your choosing. Admission is $20 and benefits The Pantry. 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Oxford Conference Center.

Celebrate Mississippi’s Arbor Day with a free, family-friendly tree-planting workshop. Take home trees to plant in your own yard. 2-3 p.m., the Old Armory Pavilion.

visitoxfordms.com

FEB RUA RY 17

FEBRUARY 8

fordcenter.org

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National Random Acts of Kindness Day Look for opportunities to be kind today, and share your moment using #RandomActsofKindnessDay. “You can always give something, even if it is only kindness.” — Anne Frank

The Righteous Brothers The Rock & Roll Hall of Famers perform their classic hits at the Ford Center. The duo pioneered the most played song in radio history, “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin.” See website for ticket pricing. 7:30 p.m., the Ford Center.

hcr.trees@gmail.com

Valentine’s Day

Presidents Day

FEBRUARY 14

FEB RUA RY 17

Show your love today by posting a photo, and tag us or use #invitationvalentines for a chance to be featured on Invitation Oxford’s social media pages.

School’s out and federal buildings are closed on this holiday honoring our nation’s first president, George Washington, who was actually born Feb. 22, 1732.

INVITATION OXFORD | FEBRUARY 2020


“Carmen” and “Romeo and Juliet” FEBRUARY 18

The Russian National Ballet performs two classics at the Ford Center. See website for ticket pricing. 7:30 p.m., the Ford Center. fordcenter.org

League of Women Voters 100th Birthday Party FEBRUARY 18

100th birthday party for the League of Women Voters, with music, cash bar and impromptu speakers. Free. 5-8 p.m., The Lyric Oxford. For information on the event, email carolyn.lott@mso.umt.edu.

St. Jude Taste of Oxford FEB RUA RY 20

Next Gear Solutions presents the 13th annual St. Jude Taste of Oxford dinner event to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Tickets $150. 7-11 p.m., The Jefferson Oxford. stjude.org

Oxford Art Crawl FEBRUARY 25

The double-decker bus stops at the Powerhouse, the UM Museum, the Square and campus for a pop-up art crawl the fourth Tuesday of every month from January to October. Free. 6-8 oxfordarts.com

Mardi Gras FEBRUARY 25

Put on your beads and laissez les bons temps rouler. Flip to page 26 for a king cake recipe to try at home. FEBRUARY 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

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S H O U T O U T S MEGAN WOLFE | UNIVERSITY MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS

T E D xUn ive r s it yof M i s s i s s i p p i More than 3,000 independently run TEDx events take place each year, bringing TED-like presentations to local communities all over the world. Founded in 2015, TEDxUniversityofMississippi is a studentrun organization that focuses on TED’s mission to spread ideas worth sharing. This month, 10 speakers from different backgrounds will take the stage to share their stories in 12 minutes or less at UM’s TEDx 2020. The scheduled speakers are Beth Ann Fennelly, Don Guillory, Hannah Gadd Ardrey, Ruth Sherman, Stephen Fafulas, Fernando Arroyo Lopez, Carolyn Friewald, Dr. Warrick Bishop, Muriel Collins and Areesha Razi. Hannah Newbold, UM’s TEDx chief of staff, expects the event to be a mix of engaging conversations, live music and a welcoming community. “Our goal this year is to share new perspectives with the L-O-U community,”

Newbold said. “I can’t wait to listen to our speakers this year and hear the insights they provide.” UM’s TEDx program has produced 34 TEDx videos that are available on YouTube. As of May 2019, the videos had been viewed a total of 1.2 million times.

UM’s 2020 TEDx event takes place at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 29 at the Ford Center. Tickets can be purchased for $10 at the Ford Center box office. For more information on the event, email tedxuniversityofmississippi@gmail.com or visit tedxuniversityofmississippi.com.

YOKNAPATAWPHA PRESS

“ W i l l i a m Fau l k ne r : T he C of ie ld C ol le c t io n”

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Fans of Oxford’s literary and photographic history take note: A new softcover edition of “William Faulkner: The Cofield Collection” by Jack Cofield debuted in November 2019. Oxford writer and publisher Larry Wells edited the photobiography, which Yoknapatawpha Press first published in 1978. The book began with a private collection of studio portraits by William Faulkner’s family photographers, J.R. Cofield and his son, Jack Cofield. It also includes photos from other contributors, as well as historical photographs taken at the turn of the 20th century by Sanders and Sweeney, whose studio Cofield purchased when he moved to Oxford in the late 1920s. Bob Guccione Jr. reviewed “William Faulkner: The Cofield Collection” in

INVITATION OXFORD | FEBRUARY 2020

his online travel magazine, Wonderlust. Guccione taught magazine feature writing at the University of Mississippi in 2010 and has many friends in Oxford. In his review, Guccione wrote: “In the 20th century, literature defined the world, in a way emojis and Instagram stories never will. The great writers described the human condition indelibly. ... (The photos) are of a time and life long grown over, preserved in amber, an eon before the world became overexposed and so much of its mystery bleached out. With this lovely book you get lost in the plainness and joyfulness of a simpler time, and, if of an age, a bit wistful for it.” Read the whole review by Guccione and view more images from the book at invitationoxford.com.


SHOUTOUTS Un ive r s it y C ou n s e l i n g C e nt e r T he ra py D o g

THOMAS GRANING | OLE MISS DIGITAL IMAGING SERVICES

continued

UCC counselor Katie Harrison is training a new staff member: the University of Mississippi’s first therapy dog, Rowan. Rowan is a Springerdoodle. The breed is known for its intelligence and loyalty, a desire to please, low shedding and a hypoallergenic coat. In June, Rowan will be 1 year old, and then can be officially registered as a service animal. In the meantime, Harrison works with Rowan on skills to prepare him for his job. Once he is fully trained, Rowan will sit in on sessions with students who might benefit from animal-assisted therapy. Harrison will also be walking Rowan around campus so others can interact with him. “Rowan is definitely a crowd-pleaser,” Harrison said. “He loves attention, meeting students and interacting with people.” The senior class of 2019 donated its money to UCC to finance the program. “I feel extremely fortunate to be able to offer (Animal Assisted Therapy) to the students, and it is my hope as a counselor at the UCC that students utilize this amazing service,” Harrison said. “The research on AAT on college campuses unanimously supports the physical, psychological and emotional benefits that students can experience when working with therapy dogs. Rowan is here for the students.” FEBRUARY 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

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small T A L K

DAVIS COLEM AN BATESVILLE

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8 YEARS OLD

What would be a good place to take your date on Valentine’s Day? My mamaw’s because they live far away.

MIRANDA HILL OXFORD

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5 YEARS OLD

Who’s your favorite person? What do you love about him/her? Wa l ker, m y b o y f r i e nd . I like t o see hi m at lunch.

LOGAN ROWL AND OXFORD

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6 YEARS OLD

What would be a good place to take your date on Valentine’s Day? L af a y et t e Hi g h S c h ool

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K A L I YA H D E A N OXFORD

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9 YEARS OLD

What’s your favorite Valentine’s treat? Rice Kr is pies

A L E X A LVA R E Z OXFORD

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5 YEARS OLD

What would be a good place to take your date on Valentine’s Day? New Yor k! We’ d g o a ll over th e pla ce.

HAGEN BARRETT FORREST

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8 YEARS OLD

Who’s your favorite person? What do you love about him/her? Proba bly Log a n beca u s e h e s a id, “Ch oos e me. ”

NYLA NORRIS OXFORD

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6 YEARS OLD

What do you love most about your pets? I have some chickens, two parakeets and a kitty cat. I love that they’re cute.

KIRSTEN BROWN CL ARKSDALE

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6 YEARS OLD

Who’s your favorite person? What do you love about him/her? Tre, beca u s e h e’ s m y bro t he r. He’ s th e bes t!

A MI YA H CL A RK OXFORD

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11 YEARS OLD

What’s your favorite Valentine’s treat? Ch ocola te!


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R E S C U E resources

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Mississippi Critterz

hese nearby nonprofit organizations are working to help the staggering number of homeless pets in our area. Many are volunteer run; most need people to foster animals until they can be re-homed or transported elsewhere. All are in need of donations and loving humans to adopt. Here’s what you can do:

contact Call, email or visit an organization in your area to find out how you can help.

search

O X F O R D | 41 3 M C E L R OY D R I V E

662-832-6727 info@mscritterz.com | mscritterz.com

Dog Lover’s League BRUCE | 250 S . THOMP SON STREE T

662-983-7471 dogloversleague.org facebook.com/groups/dogloversleague

9 Lives Cat Rescue O X F O R D | P. O . B O X 2 0 0 6 , 3 8 6 5 5

ninelivescatrescue.com facebook.com/groups/9livescatrescue

Mississippi MUTTS O X F O R D | P. O . B O X 1 9 2 1 , 3 8 6 5 5

Websites like mutt.rescueme.org/Mississippi post information about animals in our area that are in need of homes.

shop Register with Kroger Community Rewards to provide monetary donations to participating rescue organizations at no cost to you.

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msmutts.org facebook.com/mississippimutts

Second Chance Animal Alliance WAT E R VA L L E Y | 1 1 17 1 H W Y 3 1 5

662-714-0147 secondchancewv@gmail.com secondchancewv.org facebook.com/SecondChanceWV

INVITATION OXFORD | FEBRUARY 2020

Union County Humane Society N E W A L B A N Y | P. O . B O X 1 1 6 , 3 8 6 52

uchsofms@gmail.com

Marshall County Humane Society H O L LY S P R I N G S | P. O . B O X 62 5 , 3 8 6 3 5

662-564-2900 dogsncats11@gmail.com marshallcountyhumanesociety.org

Panola County Humane Society B AT E S V I L L E | P. O . B O X 17 5 6 , 3 8 6 0 6

662-654-0926 pawspchs@hotmail.com | pawspchs.com


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WEDDING

ADAIR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

K a nd a c e L e a n n We b b & S a mue l A le x a nd e r Mo s s i n g

DATE CITY VENUE REHEARSAL DINNER BRIDE'S GOWN

The Backstage Event Center Vincenzo’s Restaurant Ballew Bridal Robin Wood Flowers

CAKE

Jeana’s Great Cakes

HONEYMOON INVITATION OXFORD | FEBRUARY 2020

Cincinnati, Ohio

FLORAL DESIGN PHOTOGRAPHER

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November 24, 2019

Adair Wedding Photography Seattle, Washington


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satsuma marmalade-filled K I N G

C AKE

C E L E B R AT E M A R D I G R A S B Y B A K I N G YO U R OW N S E A S O N A L LY I N S P I R E D K I N G C A K E . RECIPES CONTRIBUTED BY MARY MARGARET BOUDREAUX

T

he King Cake has its origins in Three Kings Day, or the feast of Epiphany, Jan. 6, and is served through Fat Tuesday, the beginning of Lent, which falls on Feb. 25 this year. There are many different fillings, but the bright citrus in this one complements the rich dough and the creamy, sweet icing. The marmalade will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, so you can make it ahead of time. The recipe also yields about 1½ cups, while the cake only calls for 1 cup, so enjoy the extra spread on toast or biscuits. If you can’t get your hands on satsumas, you can substitute oranges, tangerines or clementines, just make sure the volume of chopped citrus is about 3 cups. Or, substitute a high-quality, store-bought brand of orange marmalade. In keeping with tradition, before you ice it, make a small hole in the bottom of the cake and insert a nontoxic plastic charm or figurine — usually a baby. When the cake is served, whoever gets the lucky slice gets to make next year’s King Cake.

PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

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KING CAKE 1 cup sour cream 2 tablespoons butter ½ teaspoon table salt 3 tablespoons granulated sugar One ¼-ounce package active dry yeast ¼ cup warm water 1 large egg 3¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup Satsuma Marmalade Filling (see recipe at right, or use a store-bought substitute) 2½ ounces cream cheese, softened 3 tablespoons whole milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1½ cups powdered sugar Purple, green and yellow sparkling sugars

In a saucepan over medium-low heat, stir together sour cream, butter, salt and sugar. Cook, stirring until the butter melts. Remove from heat, and set aside to cool to 100°F-115°F, about 15 minutes.

spoon of flour at a time and continue kneading. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl when kneading is complete. (Or, turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead by hand, about 10 minutes. Then transfer to a well-greased bowl.) Cover the bowl and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sour cream mixture with yeast, water, egg and flour. Beat at medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Replace the paddle with the dough hook and knead at medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add 1 table-

Gently punch the dough down. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 22-inch x 12-inch rectangle. Spread about 1 cup of the Satsuma Marmalade Filling over the rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border. Starting at the long side, carefully roll up the rectangle in a jellyroll fashion. Place seam side down on a large parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bring the ends of the roll together to form a ring. Moisten ends with water and pinch together to seal. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Heat oven to 350°F. Uncover the dough ring, and bake 23-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool cake completely on pan, about 1½ hours. In the bowl of a stand mixer or using an electric hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until creamy. Add the milk and vanilla extract, and beat until blended. Gradually beat in powdered sugar until smooth. Pour the icing evenly over the top of the cooled cake. Sprinkle with sparkling sugars.

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satsuma marmalade FILLING

8 satsumas

1½ cups granulated sugar

Scrub and dry the citrus fruit. With a vegetable peeler, strip the zest only from 4 of the satsumas. Slice the zest into thin strips, 1/16 inch in width. Don’t worry if slices are uneven or irregularly shaped. Place zest in a small saucepan, and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, and boil for 30 seconds. Drain zest, rinse with cold water, and set aside.

Add the blanched zest and sugar. Stir to combine, and increase heat to high to bring to a boil. When the mixture has come to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Cut off both ends of each satsuma. Remove the pith and peel. Cut each fruit into quarters, and remove the pithy center and any seeds. Chop quarters into 1- to 2-inch pieces (you should have about 3 cups of fruit), and transfer into a 3- to 5-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add 3 cups water, and bring to a boil over high heat.

Continue to simmer orange mixture, stirring constantly, as zest candies and mixture thickens, about 15 more minutes. The marmalade is ready when it is thick enough that a spoon leaves a trail at the bottom of the pan when stirring.

When the mixture has come to a boil, reduce heat to medium. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes, until the mixture has reduced by half.

Meanwhile, place a small glass or metal bowl inside a larger bowl, and fill the larger bowl with ice to surround the small bowl.

When the marmalade has thickened, transfer to the prepared small bowl. Once marmalade has cooled completely, cover the bowl with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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Top Dogs THREE TOY FOX TERRIERS IN OXFORD HAVE AN IMPRESSIVE RECORD AT NATIONAL COMPETITIONS, AND WITH VISIONS OF WESTMINSTER ON THE HORIZON, THEIR PROWESS STANDS TO GROW TALLER T H A N T H E I R R O U G H LY 9 -I N C H H E I G H T. WRIT TEN BY ALEK A BAT TISTA PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

S

assy and Romeo are anything but your ordinary lap dogs. Despite their small size, these toy fox terriers are on their way to becoming big stars — they are known as serious competitors at national conformation dog shows. Their owner, Jean Abrams of Oxford, said she always loved dogs and remembers watching competitive dog shows growing up. However, it was not until later in her life that she discovered her affinity for the toy fox terrier breed, and her desire to show them was sparked. “I always thought it would be cool to do,” Abrams said. “I have always been interested in the different dogs at shows and seeing how they conform to their breed.” Abrams’ first toy fox terrier was Harley, now 5 years old. Harley was followed by Sassy, now 1½, and the newest pup is 8-month-old Romeo. All three came from American Kennel Club Hall of Fame breeder Barbara J. Andrews of North Carolina and descend from prestigious champion bloodlines. “They are small dogs with big personality,” Abrams said. “Each one is very intelligent and amusing. They have a lot of terrier in them. They love to play and fight over toys. Our living room floor is covered in toys.” At shows, dogs of all breeds and ages compete across categories ranging from conformation, companion, title recognition and performance. They begin in competition with their breed, then move to larger groups such as toy or hound. Those that advance compete against all breeds for the title of Best in Show. Abrams’ terriers compete in conformation dog shows, where they are judged on how well they conform to their breed standard. Determinations are based upon AKC standards for temperament, marking, ears and other attributes. While Harley is now retired, Sassy and Romeo are following in his paw prints. The youngsters are

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already veterans of several conformation dog shows in Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas, South Carolina and Florida. At a show in Florida in December, Sassy and Romeo earned 15 awards. At the Golden Triangle Kennel Club of Mississippi Dog Show in January, each won best of breed over the other on subsequent days. Abrams’ dogs have amassed about 30 awards, with Sassy nearing designation as an American Kennel Club Conformation Champion. And at less than a year old, the stars are aligning for young Romeo to qualify for the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club show. Westminster, known as the Super Bowl of dog shows, has been held in New York City annually since 1877. Competition is by invitation extended to only 3,200 dogs recognized as best conforming to their breed — top performing dogs from across the world who have earned points towards a champion, or who are champions. At its completion, only one top dog is recognized with the title of Best in Show. The 2020 program takes place Feb. 10 and 11. “I think Romeo will be able to earn an invitation to Westminster,” Abrams said. “He is just full of himself, a typical toy fox terrier personality. He is full of life. He conforms well to the breed standard and has the prettiest, very intense-looking little face.” For Romeo to qualify for Westminster, he must still achieve a major win against three or more terriers at a competition. However, numbers in toy fox terrier groups are often slim, and finding a show with enough participants takes time. Many people who show dogs are into it full time, bouncing from one location to the next in RVs that serve as a competition headquarters on wheels. As owner and full-time operator of Castle Hill, a busy event venue, Abrams’ ability to travel is limited. “When Romeo could earn an invitation to Westminster depends on how many shows I can go to,” Abrams said. “It could be in three months or less. But our show-going-to days are limited. It may take me longer.” When she started going to dog shows, Abrams knew little about it. She learned to train dogs through internet research and from

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others who were already competing. At shows, she found an outlet for both her competitive side and her love of dogs. “I am a competitive person by nature, and once I set my mind to something, I want to do it above and beyond,” Abrams said. “I didn’t know anything about this when I started; I (am) self-taught.” Despite their stardom, to Abrams, the terriers are her pets first. At the end of the day, she simply enjoys the company that Harley, Sassy and Romeo provide. “They are a part of the family,” Abrams said. “They are not just dogs to show. I could show or not show them, I would still treat them the same way.” Jean Abrams with Sassy, one of her toy fox terriers.


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Blooms on the Boulevard

THE OXFORD GARDEN CLUB REVIVES A 60-YEAR-OLD BEAUTIFICATION PROJECT. WRITTEN BY SARAH HOOPER

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y any standard, Oxford is picturesque. Full of both local color and historic grandeur, storied places as well as people, its tree-lined streets, rolling hills, gardens and green spaces add to its considerable charm. Oxonians are known for their hands-on involvement with the day-to-day preservation of the city’s distinctive culture and aesthetic. Since 1967, the Oxford Garden Club has worked across the community in private and public spaces alike, as a key player on the team responsible for local beautification efforts. Long a social staple of the community, the club does more than simply meet and mingle. Members are responsible for many of the public spaces we enjoy around Oxford today, such as the fence around the county courthouse, landscaping at the schools, and tending and refurbishing the historic Saint Peter’s and Oxford Memorial Cemetery. “The Oxford Garden Club has been making a difference for more than 60 years in our community,” said Oxford Mayor Robyn Tannehill. “Not many groups can make that claim. So many of the things we enjoy and take for granted every day as we pass them are contributions of the Oxford Garden Club members.” Brandall Laughlin, OGC president, is making it her mission to “get her hands dirty” by renewing the club’s efforts to be more visible in the community. Two recent efforts include a table at the local food pantry with gifts of potted flowers for the pantry shoppers. Another is biweekly flower arrangements for the hospice wing of the state veterans’ home. A new and notable project Laughlin has revived builds on work that began over 60 years ago. Charter member and past president

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Margaret Fancher said that community beautification was an early mission of the organization. “One of the very first major projects was to plant daffodils on North and South Lamar,” Fancher said. “Daffodils became our big thing.” It was a community beautification project through and through. Ladies from the OGC planted bulbs up and down Lamar Boulevard. Daffodils naturalize, so the gardeners knew they would spread. Plants from the original 1959 daffodil project still line North Lamar. However, over time, due to weather and aging, many have run their course and now bloom in lesser numbers than before. Noticing their somewhat diminished state, Laughlin recognized an opportunity for the club to undertake a renewal effort. “After seeing how sad the plantings were looking, I felt like this was a great way to promote the replanting of one of the OGC’s original projects,” Laughlin said. “The plantings have been redone maybe twice in the last 60 years, but not to this extent.” While the original plantings were done the old-fashioned way, by hand and trowel, technology helped speed up the recent project. Greg Pinion with the City of Oxford building and grounds department used a gas-powered mechanical auger to dig holes, while volunteers and garden club members used smaller handheld augers attached to cordless drills. In one afternoon, club members planted more than 2,000 bulbs. Varieties include Fortune, Barrett Browning, Trumpet Yellow, and others that will bloom incrementally beginning in February and continuing for about eight weeks in all. The bulbs will naturalize over time and should last for decades.

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The blossoms will begin on North Lamar near the Church of Christ and continue north for just over a half-mile on both sides of the street — some 2,000 bulbs dedicated as gifts shared from one person to another. Laughlin offered community members the opportunity to dedicate bulbs, for a gift of $24, as a living memorial to a recipient of their choosing. The gift will last for generations, and it’s not just the recipient who will benefit; so will the troves of passers-by who delight in the blooms each spring. In November 2019, before the daffodils were planted, senior OGC member Fannie Elliott died. In honor of her 60 years with the club, 60 of the bulbs on North Lamar were planted in her memory. “I’ll think of Fannie every time I see a new blossom,” Fancher said. Thanks to the enthusiastic response from the public and the support from the City of Oxford, the daffodil project will continue. South Lamar is already slated for the next round of planting. “When the Lamars are full, we may move to another location — a park or another thoroughfare — to keep the project going,” Laughlin said.


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wandered

LO N E LY AS A CLOUD I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils; Beside the lake, beneath the trees, Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way, They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay: Ten thousand saw I at a glance, Tossing their heads in sprightly dance. The waves beside them danced; but they Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: A poet could not but be gay, In such a jocund company: I gazed — and gazed — but little thought What wealth the show to me had brought: For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.

BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH (1770 - 1850)

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A Season of Significance O H S T H E AT R E P R E PA R E S F O R T H E F I N A L C U R TA I N AT K AY L A M I Z E AU D I T O R I U M .

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WRITTEN BY GINNY McCARLEY

fter more than four decades and hundreds of spectacular shows, students in the Oxford High School theater program are preparing to take their final bow on the stage of the Kayla Mize Auditorium and begin a brand new chapter in the newly constructed fine arts building on Charger Loop. The building was in the plans for the high school’s new campus but was cut from the initial building phase due to costs. For the past few years, OHS students have been commuting to the Kayla Mize Auditorium at Oxford Middle School school for classes, rehearsals and performances. Kayla Mize Auditorium contains countless memories, both beautiful and tragic, all of which OHS theater teacher and director John Davenport decided to commemorate in the final season on its stage. “A Season of Significance” features five shows that have been particularly important to the OHS theater program over the years. “This is a ‘season of significance’ because every show to be performed has a special connection to this theater space and the

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people who acted here, cried here, slept here, directed here and lived here over the years,” Davenport wrote in the liner notes for the season’s program. “(The season) is about how that space has been a part of our lives, as we prepare to move and reflect on what it has meant to us.” Each of the five shows in the 2019-2020 season has a connection to an alum who was part of the original production.


The season opened with “Noises Off” in September. OHS football coach Chris Cutliffe was in the class that built the set for the original production. The show got a slew of passionate responses, both positive and negative, when the department first performed it in 2004. Though some parents complained about costumes and material they found offensive in the show, the administration stood behind Davenport, and the department went on to flourish under his leadership. “‘Noises Off’ taught us that we should take risks,” said Davenport, who was brought in to rebuild the theater department and was completely blindsided by the upset the play initially caused. “I realized that if I’m going to be here, I can’t cater to everything. We don’t choose things to push envelopes, but I believe that the integrity of the work is what is most important.” The second show this season, “Blood Brothers,” has ties to a number of tragedies that rocked the department. “Tell Me It’s Not True” the final song in act two of the musical, is a haunting and beautiful number that OHS student Kayla Mize sang in “Scream Scenes III: The Dark Side of Broadway,” not long before her death. Students saw the musical in London in 2007, just weeks after a car accident killed Doug Marlette, playwright and friend of Davenport, who was on his way to Oxford to choreograph a show. In 2010, OHS students performed the musical, in the season following the sudden death of beloved teacher Caroline Fair. Mason Shivers, who starred as one of the brothers in 2010, returned as a musician in the orchestra for the recent production. Kayla Mize

Auditorium Oxford, MS

Copyright ©

2019 Playbil

l Online Inc.

All marks used

by permission.

Kayla Mize

Auditorium Oxford, MS

Copyright ©

2019 Playbil

l Online Inc.

All marks used

by permission.

MARYA PAOLILLO, COURTESY OF THE MIZE FAMILY

COURTESY OF JOHN DAVENPORT

John Davenport and Chris Cutcliffe

“‘Blood Brothers’ taught us how to heal,” Davenport said. “It really helped us give ourselves permission to heal.” “’Tis the Season,” the programs’ holiday production, was the third run of an OHS Theatre original piece that combines a number of well-known holiday songs with fun choreography and lots of student participation. OHS alum Emma Pittman — who will make her Broadway debut in “Chicago” as Roxie Hart later this year after winning broadway.com’s “The Search for Roxie” in January — returned from New York City to choreograph the production. “This theater is the reason why I am now living in New York City singing, dancing and acting as a professional,” Pittman said. “Coming back to work on ‘’Tis the Season’ was such a blast. Any way that I can contribute to this community, and inspire other young people to follow their dreams no matter what they are, is a privilege. Kayla Mize Auditorium was my home during my high school career, as it was for many. The work, friendships, discoveries, challenges and the art that is created in that space know no end. ‘Mr. D.’ changes many people’s lives, and I am so grateful to have been a part of his legacy at this theater. It’s an honor to be a part of one of the last shows in that space.” Though all the shows chosen were instrumental to the department and program, the show that has perhaps the most significance is “God’s Favorite,” which will be performed Feb. 13-15. Kayla Mize Kayla Mize was the student director of the 2005 production of “God’s Favorite” when she was tragically killed in a car accident while returning to Oxford after a football playoff game. Davenport initially assumed that the students would not want to continue with rehearsals, but instead everyone pulled together to finish the show in her honor. “I thought the cast would not go on with it,” Davenport said. “But they wanted to go back to work right away, and they wanted to make sure that we did it justice. They just wanted to make sure that the show was as fantastic as it could be for Kayla.” Not only did the students rally to perform a phenomenal show in honor of Kayla, they also came together to petition the school board to rename the theater in honor of their friend. “I didn’t really know it until then, but I learned that the students really need the program during difficult times,” said Davenport. “It FEBRUARY 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

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A collage of Kayla Mize and her classmates.

MARYA PAOLILLO, COURTESY OF THE MIZE FAMILY

really showed me the importance of what I was doing.” For Kayla’s parents, Rick and Candy Mize, the renaming of the building was a powerful testament that the Oxford community loved, valued and remembered their daughter. Another OHS alum, parent and family friend, Joey Mistilis, helped set up the Kayla Sue Mize Endowment, a fund that provides scholarships to Oxford and Lafayette high school seniors who excel in the arts. So far, the Kayla Sue Mize Endowment has given more than $21,500 in awards. Four scholarships are awarded each year, two to seniors at Oxford High School and two to seniors at Lafayette High School. Both the renaming of the auditorium and the formation of the endowment were part of an incredible outpouring of love and support from the Oxford community following Kayla’s death. “It’s just a special storm to be caught up in,” Rick Mize said. “It’s a bittersweet thing for a parent, but it is a blessing.” Nearly 15 years since Kayla’s death, her memory continues to shape the department. As John Davenport worked with the rising seniors to choose the five shows for this final season, the one show everyone agreed must be performed was “God’s Favorite.” “I think it’s really important to keep Kayla Mize’s legacy alive in the arts because it shows that through everything, you matter,” said OHS senior Cady Pittman. “To me, it means that even after you’re gone, you still make a difference and an impact on those around you. We still keep her alive through the show, and that’s the point of theater. We continue telling the same stories over and over and over again, but they still hold the same weight despite what may have happened.” Prowell Smith, another senior who helped choose the season’s shows, felt that the show was important because of the impact Kayla’s life had on the department. “So much of my high school experience has been shaped around this theater program and the Kayla Mize Auditorium,” Smith said. “Kayla Mize showed us that theater is a great place to turn when tragedy strikes. Last year when we were choosing the shows for the season, it just seemed like a no-brainer. We had to honor Kayla and everything she did for this program. While I did not know Kayla personally, her impact on the theater department has helped us push ourselves to do our best, just like Kayla did.” For Davenport — who has not only rebuilt the theater program as he was originally charged but also shaped it into one of the best in the region — the person who perhaps had the greatest impact on his life as a teacher was former OHS choir director and his mentor, Ava Bonds. The final show of the season, “OHS: The Musical,” pays tribute both to Bonds and to the musical production that was so important to the school for so many years.

First performed in 1975, the annual musical staged in February was often the only production of the year, until Davenport joined the faculty. Sponsors from the community supported the show financially, and tickets often sold out in only a few hours. “When I came to Oxford in 2000, (the musical) was such a strong tradition that I was just blown away,” Davenport said. “It would sell out every year. Ava didn’t start it, but she picked it up and took responsibility for it, and thanks to her, it really kept on going and became such a staple.” “OHS: The Musical” will run April 16-18, and will be the final show for the OHS theater department on the stage of the Kayla Mize Auditorium. An OHS original, the show will cover the history of the OHS musical. Participating alumni include Courtney Mize, Charlie Davis, Abby Wilson and Ava Bonds’ children. “When Mr. Davenport told me of his plans to dedicate this last musical in the Kayla Mize Auditorium to mom, my heart fluttered and my eyes filled with tears,” said Bonds’ daughter, Halon Gosset. “Immediately, a flood of wonderful musical memories and my mom filled my mind. In that moment, I was reminded just how proud I am to be her daughter, and how fortunate I was to see the impact that my mom, a person who truly loved her art, her students and her job, could have on a community. What a role model we all had, and what an amazing legacy she left. Thanks for the memories, Momma.” To make a donation to the Kayla Sue Mize Endowment, visit createfoundation.com. For more information, tickets or to donate to Oxford High School Theatre, visit oxfordsd.org/Page/1102.


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LOCAL FOLK ARTIST J-MAN’S NEW SERIES CAPTURES THE ESSENCE OF OLD OXFORD. WRITTEN BY ANDI SHERRILL BEDSWORTH ILLUS TR ATE D BY J-M A N

T HE W A Y TH I NG S W E R E J-MAN: “There is nothing I could say that could explain this one better than the title.”


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-MAN’s colorful folk-art paintings have graced galleries and markets for many years now in and around Oxford. J-MAN (aka Jason Heavner), his wife, Amanda, and his daughter, Lyric, have called Oxford home since 2003. Though all of his work is intriguing, J-MAN’s new series immortalizing old local haunts in his signature style is sure to conjure up memories of Oxford in times gone by. “I started this series of paintings in September to remind people what Oxford used to be like,” J-MAN said. “I don’t believe in ‘the good ol’ days,’ but I haven’t met anyone that has been here as long as I have that believes Oxford is better now than it was.” The series is titled “The Way It Was.” “It’s not just about places, but faces as well,” J-MAN said. “So many folks have J-MAN gone, whether passing on or moving away.

I would just hate to see it all forgotten.” The paintings are latex house paint on plywood. While the process varies for each painting, they all start with photos. Some of the buildings depicted are no longer standing, and some now house other businesses. Research is sometimes required to reconstruct the history and accurately capture each image. “A lot of these paintings have been painted from horrible photos and a fuzzy memory,” J-MAN said. “This would have been pre-smartphone, so everyone didn’t have a camera at their fingertips. When I need a photo to work from, I typically go to John Cofield. He has such an extensive collection of Oxford historical pics and is such an awesome supporter of the arts.” J-MAN’s art prints can be purchased at etsy.com/shop/JMANworld.

C O FFE E BI S T R O Lauren West Cleary of Oxford recently added this piece to her growing collection of J-MAN art. Cleary: “We own the commercial space where it once was, now the Monroe building on the Square. It’s a special place to me and my family, not only because of the history, but because of the future. I find myself drawn to the style of J-MAN’s work, the grassroots folk art and all of the colors.” FEBRUARY 2020 | INVITATION OXFORD

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M U R FF'S: TH E C E NT E R OF LIF E J-MAN: I used to manage Off Square Books back in the day. We had a secret book-signing by Oxford’s own John Grisham late one night after the store had closed. This involved a cooler full of beer and orders to keep our mouths shut so we wouldn’t say anything to offend Mr. Grisham. After several beers and about 500 books signed, we decided to take a break. So, we went to Murff’s. I hustled a game of pool and made a quick $20, then went back out into the alley to smoke a cigarette. The tornado sirens were going off. John Grisham was on the phone with his wife. Us Square Books employees were all drunk and smoking in the alley with no cares in the world. So, I got drunk with John Grisham and rode out a tornado warning in the alley in front of Murff’s. Good times.”

B E TT Y D A V I S G RO C E R Y Mary Jennifer Russell of New Albany owns several of J-MAN’s paintings and recently purchased this one. Russell: “The Betty Davis painting was purchased as a gift — maybe — for my Yankee brother-in-law from Michigan. The men in my family took him fishing on his first trip to Mississippi, and, after a long drive through the country, they stopped for cold beer there. He was feeling some misery vibes and was scared to get out of the car. I just always thought that was funny.”

L A FA YE T T E COUNTY C O T T O N FIELD Many Southerners have painted the cotton fields that bloom in our countryside in the fall. J-MAN puts his own colorful spin on this iconic autumn scene. J-MAN: “What can I say? Cotton fields are the one thing that haven’t changed in Oxford.”

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TH E G IN The original painting now belongs in the private collection of Jason Plunk. Plunk: “They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I worked at Ireland’s back in the day and as such, was entitled to avoid the lines and slip through the kitchen to see bands like Meet the Press, The Memphis Icebreakers, and The Bouffants. … Fun times back then.”

P A R R I S H'S J-MAN: “Parrish’s was one of my favorite hangouts in town, though I didn’t hang out there much. I saw a lot of good bands there and tried to start a mosh pit with Tyler Keith more than once.”

ST. PETER'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH Another icon on the Square that has been rendered by local artists many times. J-MAN: “It is a beautiful building.”

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Congratulations Chargers! THE OXFORD HIGH SCHOOL CHARGERS FOOTBALL TEAM CAPPED OFF A FANTASTIC 2019 SEASON BY WINNING THE CL ASS 6A STATE CHAMPIONSHIP IN DECEMBER. PHOTOGRAPHED BY ANGEL SMITH

“It’s a huge blessing winning a state championship, and all the work we put in starting in the summer showed up. In big games and to win championships you have to put in the work nonstop.” — Tight End J.J. Pegues #5

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“It was just like kind of surreal honestly. You know it’s something we’ve been talking about for five years, and to finally be able to do it, it’s kind of incredible.” — Quarterback John Meagher #17

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“I’m so happy for the group of seniors we had, to finish the season the way we did. For the seniors, that was such a great group of young men. It gave me a lot of joy to see them achieve that goal.” — Coach Chris Cutliffe

“Winning the state championship means a lot to this program. Being the underdog all season, no one expected us to win this year except us.” — Outside Linebacker Dude Person #10

“A culture was created by producing more leaders day by day. The state championship game represented that.” — Defensive Back Javian Gipson-Holmes #2

VISIT INVITATIONOXFORD.COM TO SEE MORE PHOTOS AND H E A R F R O M M O R E P L AY E R S A B O U T T H E S TAT E C H A M P I O N S H I P W I N !

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“It meant a lot to win for this program. To finally just win one in the highest level of play in this state says a lot about this program and where it’s going.” — Linebacker Kiyon Williams #38

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JINGLE BELL JAM PHOTOGRAPHED BY ABBEY EDMONSON

The Lafayette County School District hosted a Jingle Bell Jam at Lafayette High School Dec. 18 with dancing, dessert, crafts and holiday characters. Funds benefit the Lafayette Middle School PTO. 1

View more photos at invitationoxford.com.

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1. Brittani Bundren with Kevin and Misty Houston 2. Sean Boney, Caitlyn Rhea, Sophie Meagrow and Dylan Houston 3. Jenessa, Luke and Garron Hicks 4. Pam, David and J.P. Swain with Ryan Houston and Nick Thompson 5. Logan Rowland and Luke Hicks 6. Betsy Rose and Wynn Baker 7. Loidha and Eloisa Bautista

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OXFORD CHRISTMAS PARADE PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM

Oxford’s annual Christmas Parade took place Dec. 2, with a “Winter Wonderland” theme, dozens of floats and, of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus. This year’s winning float was “The Polar Express.” 1

View more photos at invitationoxford.com.

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1. Jeff, Lauren and Addison Ward 2. Vanisha, Ella and Alberto Aguilar 3. Martone and Chauncey Pegues with Anita Delane and Lorette Redmond 4. Anna Kathryn Colbert, Alexis Lee, Olivia Robbins and Madison Childress 5. Patty and Jerry Marquette 6. Julie and Matt Bay 7. Millie Fricker with Laura and Brady Kesler

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JA CHARITY BALL PHOTOGRAPHED BY MEGAN WOLFE

The Junior Auxiliary of Oxford Bid for the Kids charity ball took place Dec. 7 with music and dinner, plus a silent auction, wine pull and raffle. The event benefits the children of Oxford and Lafayette County. 1

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1. Jennifer Main, Rebecca Crane and Nicole Maxwell 2. Millie Wright with Frank and Allyson Dyer III 3. Neil and Kate Victor with Dave Harkins 4. Cliff and Mary Adams Kinney with Sarah Kathryn Hopkins and Bryson Beard 5. Sara Blackwood, Hannah Rigby, Julia Jimenez, Joli Nichols and Amy Shirkey 6. Josh Dutcher and Carlisle Weed 7. Angela Brown with Jud and Sara Nowell 8. Nishanth Rodrigues, Mary Lam-Rodrigues and Thuy Lam 9. Anne Cofer, Julia Tatum and Jamie Carr 10. Rikki Rickels, Paula Harkins and Lindsay Jennings 11. Josh and Cricket Thomason 12. Jessica and Scott Beggs 13. Taryn Mau and Shanika Ward-Stevens

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MID-TOWN MEN: HOLIDAY HITS PHOTOGRAPHED BY JESSICA RICHARDSON

The original cast of “Jersey Boys” reunited Dec. 7 at the Ford Center to perform an evening of seasonal classics and hits from the ‘60s.

View more photos at invitationoxford.com.

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1. Leanne Tate George, Martha Hamilton and Kelly Tyer 2. Helen and Ray Childers with Sherry Story 3. Jerry and Annette Lee with Jean and Johnny Still 4. Mary Duncan Hall and Judy Cutler 5. Dana Cowart, Teresa Hubbard and Sheila Cowart 6. Bill and Wanda Larson 7. Judy Gresham and Mary Tate Pannell 8. Randy and Kim Russell

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HOLIDAY ORNA MENT AUC TION PHOTOGRAPHED BY ALEX SAGE

The Yoknapatawpha Art Council’s Holiday Ornament Auction took place Dec. 13 at the Powerhouse. The annual event helps fund the arts and arts education in the L-O-U community. 1

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1. Joli Nichols, Sonia Thompson and Mac Nichols 2. Jim McCauley, Richard Frey, Marilyn Frey, Wanda Ikeda and Dave Bell 3. Mary Margaret Hickman, Linda Peters and Pam Locke 4. Carrie McCormick, Carrie Sue McCaleb and Deb Rowzee 5. Rust McDaniel, Margaret Goodwyn Bankston and Susan Phillips 6. Lee Harper and Wayne Andrews 7. Melea and Zeph Long 8. Jenny and Bradley Rayner 9. T.J. and Renee Wofford 10. Kateri Fetter and Jeremy Greenwood 11. Abigail Martin and Tyler Penton 12. Julie Fanton and Lynn Wells 13. Mary and Geoff Knight

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DOORS OF HOPE PHOTOGRAPHED BY JESSICA RICHARDSON

The annual fundraiser for Doors of Hope Transition Ministries includes a walking tour of several beautiful Oxford homes. This year’s tour, which took place Dec. 7, included the Webb, Scruggs, Walkington, Henry, Perkins and Faulkner homes. 1

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1. Kirsten Dellinger, Jeff Jackson and Nancy Dellinger 2. Jennifer and Josh Samuels with Kate and Eli Gross 3. Babs Blair, Rosie Vassallo, Stacy Harrison, Vanessa Moore, Sasha Hedges, Suzan Laney and Debra Strickland 4. Vickie and Ashley House with Caiti Howley and McKenna Nixon 5. Kathey Dixon and Elizabeth Crenshaw 6. Anne Sharp and Susan Tullos 7. Susan Bartlett and Conny Parham 8. Amelia Huckins and Rachel Gray

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ROXFORD WINTER JAM PHOTOGRAPHED BY ALEX SAGE

Students from Roxford University rocked the stage at their winter concert Dec. 31 at The Lyric Oxford.

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1. Thomas Franklin, Tripp Horne, Shaun Gussou and Captain Alexander 2. Lee Singletary, Cooper, Beth, Luci and Kirk Eddleman and Dan Singletary 3. Nathan Woo, Sherman Towns, Asa Basco-Pranger and Jonah Aloia 4. Jennifer, Nick, Alex and Richard Lowe 5. Jennifer Brown, Rachel Namorato and Emily Rikard 6. John and Becky Tatum 7. Ashley and Adam Prewett 8. Knox Laws and Robert Gonzalez 9. Doug Alexander and Kristina Carlson

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COOKIEPALOOZA PHOTOGRAPHED BY JESSICA RICHARDSON

The Cookiepalooza took place Dec. 8 at Cedar Oaks historic home, with cookies, crafts and a visit from Santa. The event was hosted by the Cedar Oaks Guild.

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1. Anthony, Nikki, Jason and Giada Verlangieri 2. Sarah, Van Morgan and Justin Light 3. Olivia and Hugh Morgan 4. Santa with Allison and Eli Munoz 5. Kobe, Kasey and Laya Black 6. Irisa and Huong Do 7. Eli, Chris, Audrey and Luke Floyd 8. Lynne McIngvale, Dianne Ferguson and Sally Fitzpatrick

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COMMUNITY CHRISTMAS PHOTOGRAPHED BY JESSICA RICHARDSON

The first community Christmas event, held Dec. 8 at the new Lafayette County Multipurpose Arena, included holiday activities, treats and free pictures with Santa.

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1. Braxton Ward and Joeann Holnan 2. Romany and Emmanuel Gaid 3. Alfredo Martinez with Alicia, Daniela and Alfredo Jr. 4. Larry Wayne, Sanna Lauryn and Sara Watkins Mullins 5. Hayley and Cohen Miller 6. Morgan and Kylie Thompson 7. Travis, Krislee and Ellis Chouccoli

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CASABL ANCA PART Y PHOTOGRAPHED BY JESSICA RICHARDSON

The first CASAblanca New Year’s Eve party benefiting CASA of Lafayette County took place Dec. 31 at the Powerhouse. Attendees in cocktail attire rang in the new year with dinner, casino games, dancing, a drawdown and a champagne toast. 1

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1. Brandon and Tina Byford with Erin Smith 2. Jennifer Saxon, Angela Edwards and Angela Pittman 3. Jessica Lanter and Dodd Jones 4. Monique and Heath Pahoran 5. Todd and Jessica Windham 6. Savannah Day and Danielle Maury 7. Brenda and Michael Prager 8. Michael and Kim Youngblood 9. Patton and Sara Paris

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OUT & ABOUT VIEW MORE PHOTOS AT INVITATIONOXFORD.COM

S out h s id e G a l le r y Re c e p t io n fo r V i r g i n i a Rou go n C h av i s a nd Bro oke W h it e

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OXC M Hol ly Jol ly Hol id ay M a rke t

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Un ive r s it y of M i s s i s s i p p i Hol id ay C o nc e r t

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1. Matthew Murray and Nancy Wicker 2. Carly, Gib and Tyler Barnes 3. Steven, Clara, Caitlin and Owen Hopper 4. Samantha Rucker and Amy Barrett 5. Cassandra Johnson and Tysa Pinson 6. Valerie Boothe, Mari Kuhnle and Evelyn Halverson 7. Jeremy Fortune and Karla White 8. Lyla and Ashley Masinelli 9. Linda and Dan Angotti 10. Kristian Hall and Catalina Farmer

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esides his studies, Oxford High School sophomore Pearson Stevens has another very important job: He’s the man behind the Chargers mascot, “Bolt,” revving up the crowds at games and fostering school spirit among students.

Q: How did you get to be the mascot? A: I first saw (the notice about) a tryout for the mascot on our school

website and thought that it would be a fun thing to do. Looking back, I’m really glad that I went and tried out.

Q: What did you have to do at the tryouts? A: I danced and also did a bit of tumbling. It

was difficult, but also fun.

Q:

What are some of the fun things about being the mascot? A: As the mascot, I’ve gotten to develop some great relationships with the cheerleaders. One of my favorite things about the position is that I get to go to lots of football and basketball games.

Q:

What was it like to see the Chargers win state? A: It was amazing. The team was playing hard, the students were going wild, and we were cheering loud. I was really proud of the team. They worked so hard the whole year to get to that point, so they deserved that win.

Q:

Some colleges offer scholarships for mascots. Are you considering pursuing it in college? A: I’ve considered it in college, but I am not sure where I want to go yet. It’s definitely an option, but I don’t know yet. I am looking at other colleges, but I do love Ole Miss.

Read more online at invitationoxford.com about Pearson Stevens and Bolt, and flip to page 40 for more on the Chargers football team’s state championship win.

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OX F O R D

INTERVIEWED BY EDWARD BROWN

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“ B O LT ”

PHOTOGRAPHED BY JOE WORTHEM


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