After this weekend, Swayze is a friend of mine

Published 7:15 am Wednesday, April 17, 2024

By Les Ferguson, Jr.

A long time ago, the only Swayze I knew went by the name of Patrick. Not that I knew him personally, not at all. 

But from all accounts, he was a good guy, although my knowledge was only through the venue of his movies. Roadhouse, Ghost, and Dirty Dancing are the ones I remember best. 

Email newsletter signup

The only other significant things I’m aware of in his life were his long and successful marriage and his untimely death from cancer. 

Recently, another influential Swayze entered my life. I’ve lived in Oxford for five years and have been a full-time minister here for six. We love our adopted home. Short of winning the semi-mythical Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes or inheriting a mansion on the beach in Hawaii, this is where I hope to live out my days. They don’t call it the Velvet Ditch for nothing. 

However, thanks to the generous offer of friends, this past Friday night, I was able to experience a new-to-me aspect of Oxford: Swayze Field.

This game was between my two favorite teams, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. I went wearing powder blue and was torn between the two. I’ve long been a State fan, but you can’t live here and not get excited about Ole Miss. But before you criticize me from either direction, please remember that school rivalries should be fun, and that’s all they should be. Go Mississippi!

But I digress, back to Swayze Field and Oxford.  If you live in this town, you live in a place of great beauty and blessing. It is a magnificent place to be, and the opportunities for culture, food, entertainment, and sports are phenomenal. 

Sure, every town is not Oxford – I get that – but every city or town has its virtues, beauty, and opportunities. An old country song extolls us to love the one you’re with, and that’s excellent advice. It’s easy to kick a place when it’s down, but what a difference it makes in a community when we learn to love it, warts and all.

Indeed, gratitude and counting your blessings should extend to being thankful for where you live, shop, work, and worship. 

Long ago, in the book that bears his name, the prophet Jeremiah sent a letter to the exiled Jews in Babylon, and in part, this is what he said: “Pursue the well-being of the city I have deported you to. Pray to the Lord on its behalf, for when it thrives, you will thrive.” (Jeremiah 29:7 CSB)

What would Oxford and any town in Mississippi be like if each of us pursued its well-being?

We truly can make a difference!

God bless you, and God bless Mississippi!