September 30, 2012 – Linda’s Gig at UU in Oxford Mississippi

The express purpose of the visit was for Linda to speak at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Oxford Mississippi.

Here’s Linda and Gail before the service.

And Linda in action.  The church was a wonderful old building, reminiscent of a one-room school house, with a wood-strip floor and the good old building smell and aura.  The congregation is vivacious, bright-eyed and full of life and energy, and unlike many other smaller congregations, has a very young average age.

It was also a reflective week in Oxford as it marked the 50th anniversary of the admittance of James Meredith into the University of Mississippi.  His enrollment was met with riots, deaths, and 30,000 troops to keep order, and he remained under the guard of U.S. Marshalls during all of his time at the University until he graduated.  There was no such hardship when in 2002 his son graduated as the top doctoral student in the school of business.

September 29, 2012 – Road Trip to Oxford Mississippi

Ever just want to hop in the car and drive somewhere you’ve never been before? We first grabbed a sniff of the Mississippi River near Keokuk Iowa, and traced it down through Hannibal, St. Louis, and Cape Girardeau, and the bootheel of Missouri, followed by Blytheville, Arkansas, finally crossing over the Mississippi in Memphis, Tennessee, before continuing on to Oxford Mississippi. Driving time, about 11 hours.

Here are a couple of biologists-turned seminarians, Linda and Gail at Gail’s home outside of Oxford.  I was struck with the rolling densely forested countryside of Northern Mississippi.

Our hosts for the weekend, Pat and Gail in front of a more or less indestructible spider web.  Both are professional arachnologists (study spiders).

Pat shows off one of the 60,000 or so spiders in her collection – this one named after her!

Down South, there are plants that ya’all don’t get to see up north, like this lilly plant that sends up foliage in the spring, dies back, and then sends up the flowers in the fall.

Of course, there are the Magnolia trees as well.

Here we’re kicking back on the back steps of Rowan Oak, William Faulkner’s home in Oxford.

This was a bit of a rarity in this part of the state – a cotton field.  We actually saw much more cotton in Arkansas.

There was however, no shortage of Kudzu – namely along edges of forests, as you can see along these railroad tracks – it covers nearly everything in sight.