The Tailgating Traditions of “Our Spot That Ever Calls”
An Interview With Lee Paris by HottyToddy.com
Enjoy the sixth in our series of Tailgating Traditions articles sponsored by Ole Miss Tailgating where you can even order Raising Cane’s® and Chick-fil-A® for your Grove Tent! (Click the Ole Miss Tailgating logo below to see the menu and order!)
Lee and Lisa Paris with their children Rachel Paris Pritchett, Henry Paris and Vivian Paris.
HottyToddy.com: Lee, the Paris family has been tailgating for a long time, tell us about the history?
Lee Paris: I used to go as a child with my grandparents LeRoy and Irma Paris. Back then we tailgated out of the back of a car. I guess that was probably 1959 or 1960. I have a picture of me with my grandfather in my navy pants, red vest, and beanie hat. I was about two or three years old.
I remember when they didn’t let cars in the Grove for the first time. It had rained for two weeks straight, and they had to block off the Grove. During the first Saturday, cars had left huge ruts, and it just got even more wet. The trees were going to be killed. It was supposed to be temporary, but everyone liked it and got used to no cars. That was in 1991.
HottyToddy.com: What year did your family’s tailgating experience begin?
Lee Paris: My grandparents started tailgating when my dad, Henry Paris, was in school here, probably the late 1940s or early 1950s.
HottyToddy.com: Who are the regular participants in the “Our Spot That Ever Calls” tailgate?
Lee Paris: We have 23 families and three tents. The families include Debbie and Weldon Aultman, Jana and Kenny Barraza, Barbara and Marshal Briscoe, Betty and Bill Brown, Misti and Bob Crisler, Ned Currie, Toni and Jim Denton, Renee and Mayo Flynt, Michele and Cliff Ford, Nancy and Earl Fyke, Craig Geno, Richard and Leslie Hastings, Lisa and Derek Henderson, Gail and Rob Jones, Susan and Roy Kellum, Rebecca and Bill Long, Lee and Lisa Paris, John and Allison Pinholster, Lisa and David Rotolo, Stacy and Bobby Rotolo, Pat and Mike Stevens, and Marcus Wilson.
HottyToddy.com: Where is the location of your tent, and how did you select it?
Lee Paris: It is directly across form the Lyceum. We have a lot of guests, and everyone at the tent is encouraged to bring guests. It’s the easiest spot to find. If you walk out of the Lyceum and into the Circle it is the first tent on your right.
My first date with my wife, Lisa Redditt Paris, was at this spot. She packed a picnic, and we went out and sat in the grass there.
HottyToddy.com: What a wonderful way to honor the Ole Miss Alma Mater by calling it “Our Spot that Ever Calls.” How did this come about?
Lee Paris: My wife, Lisa, and a group of her friends came up with it, and we liked it.
HottyToddy.com: What is the Paris family’s history with Ole Miss (in general)?
Lee Paris: Our kids are fifth generation. My great grandfather, Charles Henry Leonard, went to Ole Miss in the 1870s and met his wife, Mary Comfort Leonard, (one of the founders of Delta Gamma), there. She went to school at the Lewis School for Girls in Oxford. Girls didn’t go to Ole Miss then, but she did go to college in Oxford.
My wife’s family is fourth generation. Her mother, Patricia O’Neal Redditt, and her grandmother, Lucille Burke O’Neal went to Ole Miss.
HottyToddy.com: What is the game-day menu, typically at “Our Spot that Ever Calls?”
Lee Paris: It varies every week. We have a menu committee and two caterers that we use. The chicken is the same every week but everything else is different. It’s always great great food.
HottyToddy.com: Describe the most memorable moment?
Lee Paris: Our families have enjoyed many life long memories at our spot. One such memory was when our daughter, Rachel Paris Pritchett, and her now husband, Billy, were engaged a few days before, and we had an engagement celebration at the tent. They now have a daughter, Paris who now comes to the games. Just celebrating major life moments together at the tent. Our daughter, Vivian, graduated this past May, so, of course we got photos in front of the Lyceum (near our spot) to celebrate that occasion.
HottyToddy.com: Your permanent residence (and the other regulars) is where?
Lee Paris: We live in Jackson, Mississippi right now but we’re moving to Oxford.
HottyToddy.com: Do any of you have second homes in Oxford?
Lee Paris: We have a condo in Oxford and spend about half of our time there. Our oldest son Henry Paris, his wife, Brittni and their children Rose and Lee III; and my sister, Irma Paris Buchanan and her children, Paris Buchanan and daughter Sarah Rose Lomenick and her husband, Robert, live in Oxford. Also my parents Rose and Henry Paris moved from Indianola to Oxford two years ago. We’re really excited that we will be joining them in Oxford.
HottyToddy.com: Your view on the rules and regulations for setting up tents on Game Day?
Lee Paris: Campus Crusade sets it up for us. They do a fantastic job and we’re really pleased with everything.
HottyToddy.com: If Ole Miss were to change anything about the tailgating experience, what would you recommend?
Lee Paris: We just enjoy ours so much I don’t know if we would change anything. I’d like to have 72-degree weather like we did last weekend. The system works so well so that’s probably it, I’d like perfect weather and never a Rebel loss!
HottyToddy.com: How early in the week do you start preparing for the Saturday event?
Lee Paris: The menu is decided two weeks ahead of time.
HottyToddy.com: How do you divide the duties among the participants?
Lee Paris: We send out a volunteer sign-up sheet in the summer, and everybody is really good about pitching in.
HottyToddy.com: What is your zenith enjoyment from all of this work?
Lee Paris: Having several generations of friends and families sharing traditions that we’ve enjoyed generation after generation.
Rose Paris (above) one of the youngest members of the tailgate, sings the Ole Miss Alma Mater.
Enjoy our Tailgating Traditions stories from previous weeks!
Amy Goodin is a writer for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at argoodin12