Contemplating campus on All Hallows Day
Published 6:30 am Wednesday, October 25, 2023
By Steve Stricker
Are you ready? has a new meaning for me this time of year. I’m always ready to support our Ole Miss Rebels and even more ready to stop sweating, mowing, trimming, weeding and all that yard stuff! Years ago after fighting winter forever embraced it and like lunch hour, it flew by – it’s time for that again!
October is the month of Mary; October 7 is the Feast of our Lady of the Rosary, and ignoring all the precursors for Fall, the calendar, leaves changing, temperature, Saturday, October 7 was THE first day of Fall for me because it was the last day I mowed the yard this season – YAY!!!
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Speaking of Fall, my three favorite all-time college football teams are Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Notre Dame. Ole Miss my team since arriving in Oxford in 1988, Vandy because my son Stephen graduated from there, been there often, and is a class university, Notre Dame because they are uh, Catholic and awesome, I’m a Cradle Catholic, and have been on their Gold Dome campus several times, walked on that hallowed field, to see my sister Pat who has her Nursing degree from Holy Cross Central located on the ND Campus.
This Saturday for Homecoming we play Vanderbilt here in Oxford. Ole Miss holds a current four game winning streak, but Vandy, like the pigs Arkansas, has our number and although we lead the series dating from 1984 53-40-2, this is the SEC and this is Vanderbilt…best wishes Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Stephen and Steve….
Next Tuesday is Halloween. On the 31st of October, All Hallows Eve, legend tells that spirits of the dead return to walk the earth; November 1, All Hallows Day is for remembering those who died the previous year and would finally find peace – we Catholics celebrate this as All Saints Day, the second day, All Soul’s Day, commemorates the faithful departed believed to be in Purgatory.
Years ago on Halloween when my office as Assistant Director of the Ole Miss Career Center and teacher was on the third floor of the un-restored Lyceum, I needed to work late – but as the sun was setting, first took a short walk around our beautiful campus in the cold, clear, crisp fall air.
Looking at Ventress Hall from the Circle, I reflected on the beautiful Tiffany-stained glass windows housed there depicting the University Grays, Company A of the 11th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, composed almost entirely of Ole Miss Students – the Grays penetrated deep into Union territory at Gettysburg in 1863 but suffered almost 100 percent casualties.
In the Civil War (1861-1865), 260,000 Union and 258,000 Confederate soldiers lost their lives, most soldiers were drafted and sent to war, including me (Vietnam July 1969-August 1970), and fought because we had to, not for any ideology. After the 1862 bloody Battle of Shiloh in Hardin County, TN (less than two hours away) many buildings on the Ole Miss Campus treated wounded from both sides and those who died were buried together in a modest cemetery named, “God’s Little Acre” located just south of the Tad Smith Coliseum – RIP all….
HAPPY OLE MISS and OXFORD HALLOWEEN…. Best wishes Ole Miss and Vanderbilt. Please pray for the people of Ukraine, Russia, Israel, Palestine, and all us.
Steve is an Oxford resident, worked on campus, received his Ph.D. in counseling from Ole Miss, is an LPC, NCC, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.