I love Tupelo, Mississippi. It’s a small Southern town with big-city shopping and restaurants, a town that honors the best of its past while heading confidently toward its future — and a town where tolerance is celebrated and fairness is expected and you can even say you’re a Tennessee fan if you do it quietly and respectfully. And unlike the adjacent state of Alabama, where everyone is expected to declare for Alabama or Auburn immediately upon birth and there are businesses that Alabama fans will not frequent because of War Eagle allegiance and vice versa, the Ole Miss v. Mississippi State rivalry is somewhat more civilized — especially in neutral ground such as Tupelo. For example, check out the local Cracker Barrel, where neighboring rivals Ole Miss, in nearby Oxford, and Mississippi State, in Starkville, get equal billing in souvenir sales. Although, if you look closely, it does seem as if Mississippi State has a bit of advantage in terms of display footage. Makes me wonder where the store manager went to school. And in further evidence of Tupelo’s open-door reputation, I spotted this hair-salon sign (click to enlarge) — and, uncharacteristically, I have nothing to add. Just … nope. Nothing.
Published by shoalswriter
I'm a freelance writer, editor and marketing consultant focusing on style, history, food and the arts in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. I'm also an adjunct journalism instructor and writing coach. My husband is a newspaper sports editor, and he and I are from middle Tennessee. Older Daughter and her husband, an artist and high-school art teacher, live nearby with our three young grandsons. Younger Daughter works in PR and event planning and also lives nearby. View all posts by shoalswriter