Never trust a GPS. Somehow I managed to travel an extra 50 or so miles on my way to Oxford after telling the GPS to take me via the shortest route. She (for it has a woman’s voice) ignored me. I did get to go through Tupelo and take in part of the Natchez Trace Parkway but when I finally stopped at a visitor centre to get a map I discovered I had maybe been on the scenic route.
So I arrived in what is one of my favourite towns in America at 5.00pm instead of an hour or so earlier. The first thing I did was to confirm that Square Books was open late and then I checked into the Downtown Inn which provides a happy hour and a half from 5.30pm with some horrible but free chardonnay.
Oxford is the classic American small town. As soon as I saw iut some years back it fitted my image that must have been created from watching too many American movies.
Oxford revolves around the delightful main square (with its statue of Johnny Reb outside the courthouse), was the home to William Faulkner and the scene of the famous integration confrontation at the University of Mississippi (which is such a beautiful campus that you cannot imagine the intolerance that was once there). Bob Dylan wrote the song ‘Oxford Town’ about it (included on Freewheelin’) in which’ Ev’rybody’s got their heads bowed down.’
Then it was back to Square Books and though there was a terrific selection of Mississippiana I was relatively restrained. Off Square Books along the street sells the remainders and I found a few music books there too.
After a relaxing dinner at the Ajax Diner I returned to my room and worked on some of the interviews for Saturday’s edition of Off The Record and prepared for three interviews tomorrow.