Sunday, October 30, 2011

Oxford Town, Oxford Town

This post is a continuation of a series on my travels to my home state of Mississippi.

Picking up where my last post left off, I left Booneville and headed to Oxford to finally see my mother-in-law's new house. The house is great, and everyone is very excited. It's nice to see Crystel getting to spend time with her mom and sister again, and I'm enjoying the time with them and with Lauren's boyfriend Chris. We didn't get to stay around too long, since I didn't get to Oxford until 5:00 in the evening and we still had to get our dog from the kennel back home in Memphis.

Speaking of a trip to the kennel, here is Porter's "Pawgress Report" from the visit.

The following weekend, we really got to discover the new house. We drove down on Friday after work, and stayed until Sunday, when we left kicking and screaming to head back to Memphis and reality. While we were there, we got to go to the South Depot Taco Shop on the square for dinner (always a good choice if you're looking for a fun casual meal in Oxford). After dinner on Friday night, we headed to our old watering hole The Rib Cage to see if we could spot any old friends. We ran into several people we knew, and I was reminded of how much I miss my friends. I made the best friends of my life while I was in college, and I'm hope I get the opportunity to see them more often. Here's a picture of most of our college friends at our wedding in 2007. Just looking at this picture makes me miss everyone.

On Saturday morning I went for a run around the new neighborhood, and I can't think of a more perfect place to run than Oxford in the fall. The new neighborhood has a lake, and the path around it is approximately 3 miles; perfect for 5k training. We managed help out with a couple of things with the house before we had to head back to Collierville on Saturday afternoon so Crystel could work at an event for her Youth United group at Habitat for Humanity.

When we got back into town around 6:30, the Rebels were already getting thumped soundly by the Tide, and we decided we'd better get our running around done before the game crowds hit the streets. We stopped by Home Depot, where we ran into our old friend Neal Patel. Neal was part of our group of friends in Oxford from the very first semester when he owned a bar called Duffy's where we'd go for Leo's Karaoke. It was great catching up with Neal, and a nice surprise to run into him while shopping for toilet flappers and picture hooks.

Speaking of Duffy's, it will always hold a special place in my heart. It's really where Crystel and I were able to spend time together early on, without the pressure of formal "dates." We were just hanging out with friends, and it became what it is today. We would go and listen to the same people sing the same songs week after week, but it never got old. Burt would sing Bottle of Wine, a group would always sing Love Shack, a few fraternity brothers would always ironically sing I Want It That Way, I would usually join our friend Chambers and a few other friends near the end of the night for a Top Gun-style rendition of You've Lost That Loving Feeling or a group rendition of Lean on Me, I'd usually sing a few solo songs, and I'll never forget the Coopers singing Elvira (with Little Cooper gracefully filling in the Oom PaPa Oom PaPa Oom PaPa MowMow...). I seem to recall Big Al singing the Jason Boland masterpiece Rich Young Dumb Nymphomaniac, but I can't remember if that was Karaoke or just sitting in with the bands that sometimes came through. Duffy's closed during our second semester in town, but it definitely left a mark, and things were never quite the same afterwards.
We spent the rest of Saturday night and Sunday helping out around the house, and as we headed home we vowed to try and spend more time visiting our family and friends. I always really enjoy visiting both of our homes in Mississippi, so we really have no reason not to make more of an effort to go. It's an easy trip,and a fun, cheap way to have an enjoyable weekend away from our day to day lives.

We rolled into Memphis, happier and more relaxed than we've been in months, even though I had an 8:00 flight the next morning to Harrison, AR. I had to unpack, wash clothes and repack in a short few hours, then spend four days on the road, but I was very calm. Crystel can attest that I'm not normally so calm on days before I travel. If we've felt like something is missing from our lives, I think we've been pinpointing it lately. We've started regularly going to church (and actually being involved with the church), and that has helped a lot. I think the other missing element is quality family time. Sure, we see our families occasionally, but I don't feel like we've been really involved enough in each other's lives. We hope to change that.

I'm going to try and continue the series of posts about time spent in Mississippi. Hopefully, the posts will become more entertaining (and maybe even humorous) as I'm able to write more real-time about what's going on as it happens (as opposed to playing catch-up with 4-5 posts in a week).

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