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Even new trips spark memory lane

Christmas flooding and the seasonal crud kept my family from visiting for Christmas, so this weekend I had a special treat: a visit from my parents where we explored Oxford together.

Being their first time to visit with me since I started working here in July, I wanted to show them the hot spots on the Square, my favorite restaurant off the Square and some of the communities I have come to enjoy.

Being a holiday weekend, not much was open. But, I was able to give them a tour of the EAGLE office and press, and we walked around the Square. Well, at least until we wound up at Square Books. Being the book nerds we are, that was a long visit in the store. They picked up some unique books, while I picked up a Lafayette County history book for the office, which has wonderful history on the families that helped settle the county and the communities that have made it what it is, whether they are long gone or still prosperous. I also picked up a book by Larry Brown, since I have not read anything he has written, but I sat just a few hundred feet from his pasture gravesite just a week or so ago.

After lunch and a lot of shopping along Jackson Avenue, my parents wanted to visit somewhere they had never been before. Taylor was a choice, but Taylor Grocery is closed for the holidays, so that was put on a list for a future visit. Water Valley was the next choice.

Growing up in Illinois and Wisconsin, we would take road trips on Sundays and drive an hour and a half into Gurnee, Illinois, just to get ice cream at a favorite shop and watch the rides go round and round at the Six Flags in the distance. We would then cruise through neighborhoods just to look at pretty houses. So, going into Water Valley was a quick drive down the road.

While the town was basically shut down for the holidays, my parents were happy to see somewhere new and were awestruck by some of the houses. My mother was especially tickled to see all of the houses for sale with Kessinger Real Estate. My mom still has a 1974 program signed by Don Kessinger. It’s such a small world.

While my mom was looking up all the houses for sale on her phone in the back seat with me driving, I played some of the songs my parents subjected me to growing up on road trips: the greatest hits from Billy Joel, Blondie and even some Shania Twain. It was a weird, but fun, role reversal. When Phil Collins came on and they wanted their one song veto, I agreed to hit the next arrow, but warned some rap or even some Lil’ Wayne might come on next. They took that chance. And when it did, that was another first for my dad — much to his dismay.

Despite the hip-hop end to the trip, they pledged to return to Water Valley to possibly look at houses to buy and most definitely eat some crawfish.

Stephanie Rebman is editor of The Oxford EAGLE. Contact her at stephanie.rebman@oxfordeagle.com.