A Farewell to the Ghost of Oxford

My last day in Oxford was spent again walking around campus, alone. I had lunch in the student union and then walked on to field at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. I even strolled the perimeter of the campus as a sort of way of “peering into” another world. My last stop was here:

The Lyceum.

The main administration building on the Ole Miss campus. It’s the signature building on this out of the world place in the world. And I took a picture.

Afterward, I met up again with Van for a last goodbye. I snapped a picture of him standing outside of Alumni House and standing next to his Volkswagen Beetle. Thinking that what we had established over the past few days would be the start of a long term friendship, I hardly wondered if and when I’d see him again…

Back north, I sat at my desk and wrote a letter of thanks to Van for his kindness and generosity during my visit to Oxford. Once mailed, I began to anticipate his response.

That anticipation continues to this day because I never heard again from the Ghost of Oxford.


Scene from Afar

Wait, what?

Real quick.



Wait, so you want to…


No way!

Yes. Seriously.

And then you’re gonna…

Hold on.

Wait what?

A Roast Beef Sandwich

The mechanic was telling my uncle that he only had a few months to live.

Cancer he said.

Working at the gas station as a kid during the summers, my concern was getting through the day. I was 12. And working over the summers? Thanks for the memories mom and dad.

It was a roast beef sandwich that I’d remember too.

We’d order lunch from the deli next door. The gas station guys. One of my jobs was to place the orders and pick up the food. I’d get looked at sideways enough though to order something cheaper than say, the roast beef. Liverwurst or bologna was usually a safe and financially sound bet.

My uncle? He’d always get roast beef and swiss with a little mayo. Sounded so good. Even today.

On that day, while eating his king’s fare and listening to the mechanic, I finally got my chance.

“Here. You can finish the rest,” he turned to me afterward and said. “I’ve lost my appetite.”

And I did, not knowing that the taste would last for almost forty years..