Blessed to live in community

Published 6:00 am Sunday, March 13, 2016

Mississippians have always been known to be generous with their donations and kindness.

In a recent study released by Wallet Hub, Mississippians ranked second behind Utah in the highest percentage given by donated income.

After the passing of my Dad last week, I can attest to the generosity of people in the Lafayette-Oxford-University community. From cards, visits, phone calls and food, people in our community know how to let family members know they are being remembered.

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I remember former Oxford EAGLE Editor Don Whitten telling me after the death of my brother Dan, how caring people in our community would be. I had no idea what he meant until the volume of cards and calls started to pour in. I have witnessed this twice, with the passing of Dan and my father.

One of the things that I always remember about my Dad is that he loved to send handwritten notes. He always taught me to return phone calls, which I try to do for the most part, but to always acknowledge when someone has done something special with a note or a card.

I have tried to do this over the years, thanking an employee for a job well done or sending a note to someone in the community I feel needs to be praised. Unfortunately, over the last few years, my handwriting has gotten so bad that I find myself typing a letter on the computer and then placing it in the card.

I still have a collection of some of the handwritten notes that Dad wrote me. Most of them were usually about a milestone that happened at the EAGLE or some other accomplishment. I remember one such card where all he said was that he “was blessed” to be able to work with two sons at the EAGLE.

I was the lucky one getting to share all of those years with Dan and him.

Jack Rhea Tannehill shared during my Dad’s visitation a typed letter my father had written him in the early-1960s. Jack Rhea had applied for a job at the paper and the EAGLE had offered him $1.40 per hour to work there. The standard rate at that time was $1.25. Jack Rhea shared with me how much having that letter meant to him.

We are all so guilty now of sending our thanks to someone through voice mails, emails, text messages and instant messaging. I know, in all my years at the EAGLE, it is so much easier to send an email thanking someone rather than picking up the phone and actually telling them.

Handwritten notes today are a lost art. It is a craft that has been replaced with the increase in social technology. Even in our school systems today, some of them opt out of teaching our children how to write in cursive.

Oxford is a wonderful place to live and the residents of our community make it what it is. Thank you to all of you for your love, support and prayers you have shown our family over the last week.

As my Dad always said, “I am blessed” but, honestly, “we are all blessed” to live in this community.

Tim Phillips is publisher of The Oxford EAGLE. Contact him at