Tupelo, Mississippi

Ole MissI love Tupelo, Mississippi. It’s a small Southern town with Mississippi Statebig-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 Tupelo, Mississippieveryone 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.

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