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Discovering a quiet cheerleader

Sometimes people prefer to sit back in the shadows, do their work and go home to their family. They don’t need the limelight or recognition, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have powerful things to say once you finally get them talking.

Last week I had the opportunity to interview Oxford Police Department’s Maj. Sheridan Maiden, and it turns out he is one of the most vibrant, enthusiastic advocates of Oxford I have met since I have been working at The EAGLE. You wouldn’t know it, because he stays relatively quiet.

Maiden, who lived in Jackson for a while, pointed out that while there may be occasional crime around town and riffraff around the Square when people have too much to drink, Oxford is one of the safest places to live in the state.

His grandchildren love to come to Oxford for the summer and hate to leave. They relish being able to ride bicycles through the neighborhood and make friends with kids their age out and about playing. Kids being able to be out and about playing safely is a rarity these days in some cities within an hour or two drive of Oxford.

Another point he made I thought hard about. If your child leaves his or her bicycle out in the front yard Tuesday night, there’s basically a 99.9 percent chance that you will wake up Wednesday morning and the bicycle will still be right where it was left. That also is an oddity in today’s world.

I remember back in the 1990s leaving chalk out on the driveway where my family lived and it being gone in a matter of 10 unsupervised minutes. It was a valuable lesson learned.

How many of you have grandchildren who say the same thing — that they don’t want to leave Oxford after their summer visit? My guess is a lot of you do.

Let’s celebrate the quality of life Oxford can offer and do our best to preserve it, and figure out a way to ensure the beauty, prosperity and safety continues with the next wave of people coming in to town to put down roots.

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