Just a caretaker of a gift from above

Published 6:15 am Wednesday, August 2, 2023

By Steve Stricker

After three degrees from Southeast Missouri State, working there for six years, divorced, it was time to move on. I prayed to God to be accepted into the Ole Miss Counseling Ph.D. program, get a good job on campus to pay for my tuition, get a good car, get a house, and to be in love for the first time in my life.

All except #5 happened. I thankfully had great positions on the Ole Miss campus, owned some really swell cars, completed a Ph.D., and built a new house. After an engagement to Scottish lass was broken in April 2011, I set a high standard that a future she had to be a strong practicing Catholic or Christian. I have not been out with anyone since.

Email newsletter signup

I moved to Oxford in 1988 and lived in an apartment with paper-thin walls (I told the girls next door I was going to tell their mammas). I almost killed some stereo blasting fraternity dudes above me, and was broken into over Christmas one year – I was in there, got the guy at gunpoint.

I was hired by Dr. Del Hawley as director of MBA Career Services and teacher in the School of Business Administration and the salary increase finally allowed be to buy a house.

One summer Sunday after Mass I drove down South Lamar to South Oaks, a new subdivision under development. The southernmost section had been finished and I liked the area and houses. I turned onto Donna Cove, up a steep hill, and parked at the top of the cul-de-sac where the ground was being cleared for a house.

A truck pulled up, the guy got out and introduced himself as Mike Gregory, owner and builder of the house. He described the house, I liked it, and said I could buy it directly from him, no realtor fees. We discussed price and other issues, I talked to God (and my bank), and on the first of August 2000, I moved into my dream house.

I love this house, the location in Oxford, the woods behind, the long private drive, a huge great room that lets me breathe with one story, and no stairs to climb. It is my sanctuary that I call “God’s House” because it’s his gift to me – I am just the caretaker.

Thank You, God! Wow, 23 years in this house, 15 years working on the Ole Miss Campus, Ph.D., six years at NMRC, 35 years in Oxford, and 12 years without a date.

Steve is an Oxford resident, received his Ph.D. in Counseling from Ole Miss, and can be reached at sstricke@olemiss.edu.