Oxford, Mississippi, the Home of Ole Miss

        Oxford had come highly recommended twice, so we held off on going to Memphis for a day.  The change in our itinerary was 100% warranted.  The only mistake we made was not to allow enough time.

        When we drove in, we managed to land right on the square.  Right in the center is an old time Southern white courthouse with these big columns.  I think Sherman burned it all down, but they rebuilt it after the war.  The architecture on the Sqaure hasn’t changed much since then.  But like Mark said, the South has changed.  This is a medium sized town, but a cosmopolitan place, where everyone walks around in jeans and tweeds.  Full of artists, professors, musicians and books.  A cool town.

        My agent told me to be sure to take in Square Books and cited it as one of the top independent book stores in the world.  It was all that- books piled up all the way to the ceiling.  On the first table was Oliver Sacks, ‘Musicophilia’ one Ted Lehmann had recommended I pick up for some time.  I’ve just started it, but I think it is one Ms. Turner might want to recommend to her Bread Loaf students.  From what I understand, it explores how the regular exposure to music affects the brain (maybe I’ll figure my self out!) and should be a good one to study.

        I do know that rats who run mazes learn faster if they are exposed to classical music, and I believe the same theory would work for acoustic music such as bluegrass.  I hope so, ’cause I’ve studied medicine to Flatt and Scruggs for years and it has worked out fine so far.

        Upstairs at Square Books they had a fiction and Southern Lit section and the strawberry ice cream Sally serves up was right down my ally too.  I got out my mandolin to play and the first cat to come in the room was a Greg Johnson who heads up the Blues Archive at Ole Miss, and plays in a Celtic band, Celtic Crossroads.  We talked about tunes like ‘Whiskey Before Breakfast’ (The White Spire in Ireland) and ‘Red Haired Boy,’ (alias Beggar Boy)  Greg knew his business, no doubt, and invited me to jam. 

        Like I said, the only error I made was not allow enough time for Oxford.  If I ever get published, I’ll bring my book and my mandolin right after I leave Reed’s in Tupelo.  If I don’t get published I’ll be back anyway.  Between Mr. Johnson and that fellow from Denmark who was hanging out with him, I have a notion they know every jam session and player in that part of Mississippi.

        We left Oxford for a medical meeting with Dr. Larry McBride.  He was a consultant in the Mandolin Case, and I needed to review some text with him.  I’ll report to you soon on that visit.  But Greg, I want to tell you I’ll drive many a mile for a good session, so thanks for the invite.  I’ll be back.  I am confident there is much fine music played at Ole Miss, and I wanta come be a part of it one day.

Dr. B

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16 Comments on “Oxford, Mississippi, the Home of Ole Miss”

  1. Greg Johnson Says:

    It was great talking to you in the bookstore . . . if only for a brief spell. Do let me know when you are heading back this way and I’ll try to arrange a jam.


  2. drtombibey Says:

    Will do Greg- I’ll be back. I have a lot of friends over in Saltillo, and I plan to swing by Ole Miss and spend more time next go round.

    Dr. B

  3. Billy Says:

    Dr. B here we are the whole world crashing down around us. Stocks have crashed, my mutual funds gone south big time and what do you do but get in your car and go to bookstores in the middle of no where and play your stupid music. It bothered me all night. I think I woke up three or four times. But when I woke this morning I realized you have showed me what is important in life is the people you meet and the tunes you play. I sure hope you keep writing.

  4. drtombibey Says:


    I guess if I was on the Titanic I’d play one last tune, write one more story or try to get someone outta pain. I try to worry about what I can change. I don’t know enough about money to have an impact.

    I figure in the end I am dust to dust, and money will make no difference, but a book will last forever after I am gone.

    Dr. B

  5. Cindy Carter Says:

    I am so glad that you are having a wonderful time on this tour! I only wish that Ranger Dog and I could have hitched a ride!

  6. Smitty Neuse River Pres. Says:

    Really happy you had a lot of fun in Oxford. I am a graduate of the university but I realize that it takes all of us pulling otgether to get Mississippi to the next level and not about lines of division we draw about where we attended a college. I must remind you that they had several writers that had some luck, William Falkner and Good Ole boy Willie Morris. If you ever want a good book to read or watch the movie try the one about his dog skip.

    I think and I wownder if you do relaize how small the world is, I mean isn’t it neat that several people are familair with Reed’s and Oxford Square Books.

    How is Marfar doing? Take care and I will stay in touch. I sent the blog address to Conway, he said hello darlin’.

  7. Karen Says:

    Dr. B, I’ve played music for as long as I can remember. I started playing the organ when I was 5 (when I couldn’t reach the pedals), went on to play the flute and now am a technically bad but enthusiastic pianist. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know how to read music. I think it’s definitely added so much to my life! For the past 10 years or so I’ve been songwriting – just last night I wrote a new song for one of my twins for their baby dedication next month (which I just added to my blog a few minutes ago – I’ve still got to write one for his brother!) . I love music. But I’ve decided I love making music more than I do listening to it. For the life of me I can’t write a story or study with music going in the background! Maybe my brain has trouble multi-tasking or something. I find that I get too distracted listening to a good piece of music to do anything else! I’m listening for chord progressions, great lyric choices, interesting melodies…non of which helps me write the novel I’m trying to write! Guess for me music is either centre stage or not at all…

  8. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Cindy,

    It has been a ball and there is still more to write up. I need to post about our N.C sessions so you and hubby and Ranger Dog can come see Neuse River play.

    Dr. B

  9. drtombibey Says:


    Yep Oxford was all good too. We enjoyed Mississippi – fine folks, music, and schools- hard to beat.

    I am new to the writer world, but the consensus seems to be there is something in the water as to Mississippi and works of literary art.

    Marfar is great. Tell Conway he can see her any time as long as I am there- I haven’t seen woman go so crazy since Elvis.

    Dr. B

  10. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Karen,

    When I play I can’t concentrate on anything else- even a different song. But I can listen and multi-task. In fact I’ll often remember patient histories by what tune played when the diagnosis was made.

    Dr. B

  11. pandemonic Says:

    Hi, Dr. B. You’re sure well-traveled this week!

  12. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Pande,

    Stayed on the move for sure. Much more to write up – couldn’t type as fast as it went by, but will catch up over the next week or two.

    Dr. B

  13. H. Says:


    I’m H. and I work in a company interested in blog advertising. I found your blog engaging and I’m contacting you to ask if you are interested in blog post sponsorship.

    If you are interested, kindly mail back at k5sino@bigstring.com, indicating your blog for reference, and I’ll send you back pricing details, guidelines and processes. Looking forward to doing business with you.



  14. drtombibey Says:

    Hey thanks for your interest. I have an agent these days who is at work on a book publishing deal. I run all my business thru him, and will bring this to his attention.

    Dr. B

  15. Annelle Says:

    Hi Dr. B,

    This is Annelle with Big Think.
    I saw that you mentioned Oliver Sacks’ latest book “Musicophilia” on your blog.
    I thought that you might be interested in posting a video of Big Think’s recent interview with Sacks.
    I’ve included a few clips that you and and visitors to your blog might find interesting. Please feel free to scroll through to find other conversations with Mr. Sacks, or to hear other interviews.

    Sacks discusses “Musicophilia,” an account of the mind’s relationship to music.

    Here he discusses the human need for narrative and myth.

    Sacks shares his opinion on writing.

    Our videos are easily embeddable by clicking on the envelope
    icon on the bottom right corner of each clip. The embed codes appear
    in the first field. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate
    to ask.
    I hope you enjoy Big Think!


  16. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Annelle,

    Thanks so much. I will check these out when I get home tonight. Appreciate your visit- this old country doctor is having a grand time. I learn from my readers every day.

    Dr. B

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