Disneyland of the South
I love Disneyland! And for that matter Disneyworld. It is one of those rare places that no matter how depressed, how poor, how lonely, and how angry with the world you are, if you can get there, all the bad stuff goes away. It can’t be real. It is just too wonderful to be true. But did you have any idea that over 150 years ago Walt Disney dreamed about a “Disneyland of the deep South?” One hour south of Memphis, Mickey and Donald are best friends with a dude named “Colonel Reb” in Oxford, Mississippi and The University of Mississippi, better known as “OLE MISS.
I grew up in the Mississippi Delta, probably the poorest county in America. Mississippi itself, is one of the poorest, most underprivileged states with the highest rate of diabetes and heart disease rates in the country. But out of nowhere, in this tiny town in Northwest Mississippi, you will find the wealthy and privileged, the fit and beautiful, and truly, “The Happiest Place On Earth.” Ole Miss has about 20,000 students from all over the country. They come from California to Georgia, and Texas to Minnesota to participate in what has to be the greatest 4 year party, some call an education, in the United States. At Ole Miss they say, “We may not win the football game, but we have never lost a party!”
Now I know this is hard to believe, but the Downtown Square of Oxford is home to some of the top restaurants in the country. And side-walks are surrounded by fashion forward couture apparel shops. You could be shopping on 5th Avenue or Paris and you would never know it. Except for the fact that the service and kindness exhibited by shop owners and chefs is overwhelming.
My top pics for cuisine are: 1. City Grocery 2. Ravine 3. Boure 4. Ajax 5. Honey Bee Bakery (best breakfast to me). The nationally renowned John Currance is the purveyor of several of the finer establishments in Oxford and brings a fantastic fare of Southern/French/Indian melange to his dishes. For those of you Yankees visiting, that are dreaming of some good ‘ole Mississippi Catfish, try The Taylor Grocery just outside of town.
Necessary Vernacular While Visiting Ole Miss and Oxford:
- “Hotty Toddy” (Greeting to fellow Rebels)
- ” You got some Jack” (hand me that brown bag full of bourbon)
- “Ain’t that gorgeous” ( female expression while looking at a Torrey Birch Purse)
- ” I gotta pee real bad” (male expression when you have to pee real bad)
- ” Y’all come back now” (We love your money..come back and spend more)