Carl Dean Dixon was
born May 17, 1954 to Lila "Lily" Cavanaugh Dixon and George "Buddy"
Dixon in Jackson, Mississippi. Buddy Dixon was injured while serving in
the Army during the end of the Second World War. He was awarded The
Purple Heart for wounds suffered during a reconnaissance mission when a
land mine exploded, sending shrapnel tearing through his left arm and
shoulder and leaving him permanently disabled. Though he went home a
war hero, Buddy became bitter about his disability once stateside, and
soon took to alcohol and wife-beating. When Carl was two years old, his
mother, Lily, packed what few belongings they possessed and bought a
bus ticket for as far away as they could get on $15.45. Their
destination, and ultimately their home, turned out to be Oxford,
Though Lily had worked in a factory during the war, she
had no real skills. Out of sympathy for her situation, John "Bubba"
King offered her a job as a waitress in his Oxford diner, The Red
Robin. Carl spent so many afternoons after school helping his mother
tend to customers, pour coffee and bus tables, that soon the diner felt
like home to him. He often did his homework in the "slow times" at the
diner. Because of his aptitude in math, Lily found Carl was better than
she was at counting out the drawer at the end of the day. Over the
years, Lily learned about the food business, was promoted to manager,
and eventually became Bubba King's partner in The Red Robin. Carl made
extra money for himself at times by working as a waiter, cashier and
bookkeeper at the diner.
It was this early training ground that exposed Carl to
people of all walks of life and all types of dispositions and where he
developed his "gift of gab," as his mother liked to put it. Carl was a
natural salesman; if Lily sold someone coffee and a sandwich, Carl
would be right behind her talking that customer into pie a la mode for
dessert - even before they had taken a bite of their sandwich.
Though Carl excelled in math, he struggled greatly in
most other subjects. While he was friendly and conscientious at school,
he was a below average student and never had any delusions of college.
After he graduated high school in 1972, he went straight to work.
Having no particular career in mind, he took a job as a cashier at the
Oxford Chevrolet dealership. He was always first to notice a new
customer and flag down a salesman. If a salesman forgot a particular
feature on a car, Carl would not hesitate to remind the him so the
customer would be completely informed. It wasn't long before Carl was
promoted to salesman. By 1974, he was the star salesman and was
promoted to assistant manager. Carl was able to buy into a partnership
in 1979, when he was just 25 years old. By 1984 Carl owned the
dealership outright. Not bad for a boy who barely graduated high school
and was raised by a single mother. "Local boy made good" was pretty
much how most folks thought of him.
In 1985, while on a business trip to New Orleans, Carl
met and fell in love with Valentine Delacroix. Carl's friends and
neighbors, including his mother Lily, were shocked when he returned
home just three weeks later with his young bride. There were rumors
that Valentine had a somewhat sordid career in New Orleans but no one
ever presented any proof.
In the early years of his marriage, Carl had a difficult
time trying to keep the peace between Valentine and his mother. Truth
be told, the women never did get on, but did eventually learn to
tolerate one another. Though Valentine was an emotionally volatile and
vibrant woman, she frequently suffered poor health. She and Carl tried
for several years to have children, which they both desperately wanted.
three years of trying, they had Katherine "Kat" Jacqueline Dixon on
March 17,1988. Though a month premature, with a birth weight just under
5 pounds, Kat grew into a healthy precocious child who was the apple of
her daddy's eye.
Though with each day that Kat grew stronger and
healthier, Valentine grew weaker and her health suffered. In 1992,
Valentine was found dead on her bedroom floor, apparently having taken
an overdose of pain medication. It was later revealed that Valentine
had cancer and had fought the disease for many years before finally
giving in to it.
Upon the death of his wife, Carl knew he would never
marry again and that his life was his daughter and his business. He
became an even more devoted father than he had been, which Kat found
somewhat stifling especially as she began to mature and attract young
There was a story that once, when Kat was approximately
five years old, a man attempted to abduct her by offering her candy and
telling her he had a puppy in his car that he wanted to show her. Carl
attacked the man and broke his arm in the process of wrestling his
daughter away from him. There are also rumors that many times, while
"interviewing" prospective suitors for his daughter, Carl would calmly
clean his shotgun in the young men's presence.
In 2002, Carl "discovered" Devlin Beauchamp's BBQ Shack
and was wild about the food. He immediately began to suggest that he
and Devlin go into business and open a real restaurant. He felt that
with his ability to sell and manage and Dev's ability to cook, it would
be a winning combination. By football season that year, Home Plate
opened. As Carl predicted, they took Oxford by storm and have remained
one of the most popular restaurants in the city. In fact, there has
been a lot of talk and rumor about the possibility of franchising Home
Plate nationwide. Until Devlin Beauchamp's untimely demise, the future
looked bright. Now, only time will tell what the future of Home Plate
and its owners/employees will be.