Grumpy Ole Mayor (not so much)

Published 10:11 am Tuesday, June 27, 2017

By John Morgan

In the early 1970’s, while playing baseball for the Cubs at Gayle Wilson Park on South 18th Street Ext., our coach got into an argument with one of the coaches for a rival team, the Reds.

The argument ended quickly, after all, we were just teenagers playing Pony League baseball. Even though it ended quickly, that memory is still etched in my brain because this was my first time I got to see George “Pat” Patterson in action. Yes, he was one of the coaches on the other side of the argument.

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Imagine that!

Over the last eight years, I have gotten a firsthand look at the Mayor’s argumentative nature. That, along with a heart that is bigger than Texas, makes for a very interesting character. As most people know, I have spent the last two terms watching this high strung, determined individual lead Oxford into one of the largest population and infrastructure growth periods of recent times.

The Mayor often tells people, “I may not know much, but finance is one thing I do know.” It’s that fiscal responsibility of which he bragged, that has propelled Oxford into one of the most, if not the most, well-to-do cities in the state.

The last eight years have not been a cake walk though. We have had some contentious moments behind closed doors from people that truly believe in what is best for the citizens of Oxford, none more so than “Mayor.” By the way, after June 29th, he will be Pat. But until then, he is “Mayor,” even outside of the meetings.  Richard Howorth told me I should call him that some years ago.  He said, “it’s not Pat that you are calling Mayor, it’s the office.”

In December of 2016, when Mayor called me to tell me that he wasn’t running, I lost a bet to Jason Bailey. There was no way that I thought he would sit down. Not because he is one of these politicians that loves the power, like me (just kidding), but because I told anyone that would listen that the reason he would not step down and let Robyn run is because of his love for Oxford.  Little did I know that the reason that he did step down and let Robyn run is because of his love for Oxford.

He knew that turning it over to another person that had the drive and the determination that he did is what Oxford needed. I can’t tell you how many times in meetings that he said, “When Sam Morgan or Jack Busby or Maggie Tannehill is running Oxford, this won’t be a problem for them if we take care of it now.”  One thing I learned from Mayor was to address issues head on, which has been his nemesis on social media on more than one occasion. Still, he wouldn’t have had it any other way.

An interesting fact that many people don’t know is that every Friday for the last eight years, Mayor has sent us a “Weekend Report” of all the activities that took place during that week.  It was a great way for us alderman to keep up with all the weekly happenings.  Every week was different with various grumblings from him and of course telling us that something was way above his pay grade, but he never failed to sign his email “Thank you for your friendship.”

If you are a citizen of Oxford and you happen to see Pat Patterson around anytime soon, you should consider thanking him for his friendship and also his affection to this town that he loves dearly.

John Morgan is a local businessman and Oxford Board of Alderman.