Silver wings bring grandson for wonderful visit

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, August 23, 2023

By Steve Stricker

The first Wednesday in August I received a phone call that almost happily knocked me out of my home office desk chair. Grandson Stephen III called to see if it was okay if he came to Oxford to spend a few days with me.

He lives in Kentucky, across the river from Cincinnati, and is about to begin his freshman year at Oberlin College and Conservatory in Ohio – foundation of academic, artistic, and musical excellence, one of the oldest universities in the United States.

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Stephen is already a professional with the trumpet, performing with symphonies, with a lengthy resume of accomplishments. Then reality set in. I live under a bloomin’ rock, and the last time I went out was probably when his dad, Stephen II, came to Oxford from a Memphis work-related trip years ago.

I gave it to God, because I wanted to see him and knew it would work out. I asked my holy family for help, got my nice guest bedroom in shape, washed towels, cleaned rugs, and scrubbed the guest bathroom on my hands and knees. Then I spent hours in my yard trimming, weeding, and mowing.

It had been a long time since I felt this kind of positive energy and motivation and the house and the yard hasn’t looked this good in years.
Meanwhile, 3 and I chatted by phone, discussed a few things to do and agreed to wing it. On the 16th his flight from Atlanta landed at 2:18 p.m., we hugged and had a swell, chatty drive getting back to Oxford around 4 p.m.

We drove around town and Ole Miss – Sorority Row was festooned with hundreds of dressed up ladies going through Rush – parked on the Square, went into Neilson’s, Off Square Books, Square Books, and Proud Larry’s for some Fat Larry’s Pizza.

At home I gave a brief tour of the house. He loved his room and my special touch of roses in a vase. Tired, we both turned in early, but before I shut the light off, I called his dad to report on how the swell day went.

I went to early Mass the next day while he slept in. Later we parked at St. John’s and walked across the street to the Ole Miss campus to watch the renowned Pride Of The South Band practice on their beautiful new field. It was awesome.

My deadline to get this column to the great Oxford Eagle was that Thursday, so please read my follow-up column next Wednesday, Aug. 30, to see how the rest of our wonderful visit went.

Have a great fall semester, Ole Miss. Go Rebels!

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