Football connections

I went to the Ole MissLSU football game yesterday. LSU is very good, and Ole Miss is very bad. It was the worst Ole Miss home loss since the 1940s. Giving up 40 points makes the defense look worse than it is because LSU started possessions in Ole Miss territory half the time. The offense could not do much of anything against the LSU defense until the backups played, and not much then.

The night before the football game, my family went to the women’s basketball game. I got to see one alma mater play the other. It was tied at 21. The game looked sloppy. Then Ole Miss crushed Rice. They tacked 110 points on them by the time it was over. After the rough start, the women’s basketball team looked great.

It was good too see the campus and Oxford. My sister and I walked around the Square before the game. I saw Trent Lott and John McCain in Square Books. I think Lott was just politicking before the game. I still feel unhappy when I think of his loss of his Senate Majority Leader position. He hurt Mississippi with his mouth doing just what people elsewhere expect. McCain was signing books. He is much fairer than I thought; his hair is white. According to the linked article, he has had skin cancer.

McCain has long ties to Mississippi. My father knows about the Fighting McCains of Carroll County. Camp McCain, named for one of the famous military relatives, is located in Grenada County, the same neck of the woods. I stayed in Grenada many times on the way to Ole Miss football games.

Mississippi is a tangled web of personal relations, and “McCain’s ancestors owned slaves” from Salon traces another thread. That McCain’s ancestors owned slaves is unsurprising. According to the professor of a history class I took in college, slave owners were in the minority. McCain’s family, however, was wealthy and prominent. The interesting part is who one of the slaves was. The mother of John Hurt, one of my favorite musicians, was Mary Jan McCain. If I had known about the connection, I would have asked McCain about it yesterday. I did not talk to him because I thought I had nothing to say.

Among the people quoted in the article is one Simpson Hemphill. A Simpson Hemphill, likely the same one, appeared in the 1976 movie Ode to Billy Joe. The movie came from Bobbie Gentry‘s song of the same name. As evidenced by the mention of the “Carroll County picture show” in the lyrics, the song is based in the same place. Bobbie Gentry was born Roberta Streeter in Chickasaw County. I, too, am a Mississippian of Portuguese ancestry, but my roots are elsewhere in the state. In another coincidence, a group I often play with has been practicing “Ode to Billy Joe” lately.

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Michael M. on November 20th 2005 in General

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.