You’ve heard of house divided, but we’re a bit convoluted.
I come from a family of Mississippi State grads, as does my husband. But …
I started out at MSU in Starkville, then transferred to Ole Miss after my sophomore year when my favorite MSU roommate decided to move and finish school in Oxford.
My husband received his engineering degree at MSU, but ended up receiving his masters from Ole Miss.
My daughter followed in my footsteps by attending State a year, then transferring to Ole Miss.
My son has rung a cowbell since he could wrap his fingers around one, but is undecided about where he’ll attend next year. Considering both schools.
So, we cheer for both Mississippi teams—until we get to the game between the two—the Egg Bowl. And I’m not an expert, but I can’t imagine better tailgating anywhere.
On both campuses, many fans hire companies to set up their tent, generators, and large screen TVs. A wagon is suggested for hauling food and coolers, as well as chandeliers, flower arrangements, or statues of the mascot, if you’re so inclined.
Starkville is a nice small town with fun areas like the Cotton District and Main Street. The campus is large with plenty of grassy areas to set up. The Junction is the main area for the tents. They have the Dawg Walk there for the players to walk through. The area is attractive wrapped in Maroon and White. If you have sensitive ears, bring earplugs for the game, though. The cowbells can get loud. Oh, and don’t forget to buy some cheese from the Ag department, check out the Chapel of Memories, and maybe go to the Barnes and Noble on campus.
The three manuscripts I’ve written so far are set in Oxford. The Square is in the center of the quaint town, and visitors should check out the shops and restaurants there, and especially my favorite place, Square Books. It’s a very cool book store. Game day, everyone wants to be either in The Grove or The Circle. The area is smaller, so the challenge for a spot between the large red and blue trash cans is quite competitive. The magnificent oaks and magnolias provide plenty of shade and a nice atmosphere for the red and blue canopies. The team enters under the arc near the Union for the Walk of Champions.
One side note. Both teams provide nice portable restrooms, called Hottie-Totty Potties or Junction Johns/Janes. They’re pretty fancy for portables.
My husband and I attend only two or three games a year, and generally depend on the hospitality of those who have their system in place. We’re admitted lazy tailgaters.
Beyond the sports and the school support, I find that tailgating is more about food, friends, and fellowship.
What’s your tailgate experience?
Confession. My blue eyes shaded green for years when I heard other moms talk about their annual girl beach trips, pictures of their toes in the sand on their profile.
(To be honest, I did manage to escape once with my sisters and once with my daughter for girl trips. We had a blast.)
But I love the beach. It’s like God opens a treasure chest and sprinkles prizes around for us to find. Shells, porpoise, heron, sand dollars, starfish, sunsets, the ocean breeze, sea turtles, glowing jellyfish, the stars and the waves as constant as His love, and so much more. Another confession. I like to get a flashlight and chase little crabs at night. (I don't hurt them.) Good times.
Visions danced in my head of a trip where I would read novel after novel and then walk the beach observing God’s natural surprises. No shopping. No putt-putt. No movies. Just beach and books.
None of those moms’ beach trips ever materialized for me. With my daughter in college and my son almost out of the house, too, I figured I’d plan my own trip in a year or two or three. Then last fall, out of the blue, I received an invitation. And the timing couldn’t have been much worse.
Basically, I prayed, then went anyway. Destination Fort Morgan. The first weekend in October. Seemed like an odd time of year, but who cared?
The weather was fantastic, people. Forget spring break, fall is the season. The gulf is still warm. Not crowded, cheaper prices. I’m sure you could land nicely on one of my other favorite coastline resorts, San Destin or Orange Beach, as easily.
But Fort Morgan holds the charm of a bit more isolation. Filling the air with chatter, the trip down passed quickly. But not without picking up pastries at Jody’s Bakery in Hattiesburg. Yum! They have great homemade frozen casseroles, too, which saves time one night for dinner. Stop at the grocery before turning onto Fort Morgan road. Then make another quick pickup at the Fresh Seafood Market for shrimp or fish.
Now don’t leave the condo except to hit the beach.
If you must go out one night, Sassy Bass Amazin’ Grill is further west toward the fort. Yes, there is a cool fort at the end of the road built after the war of 1812. I’d already been there a few times with my kids, so I didn’t feel the need. But if you like history and you've never been, it’s worth a tour. I'd let you leave the condo for the experience. After all, it’s on the beach.
Okay, I’m over coveting for now, but I still love the ocean. The beach reminds me to search for God’s treasures. His gifts are all around me at home, too, I know. If only I take time to look.
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Under the Southern Sun
Janet W. Ferguson