Sideglances
by SARAH GREENE
Mar 14, 2014 | 590 views | 0 0 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WHEN YOU DON’T go out of doors for an extended period it’s rather easy to lose track of how the world turns, bringing weather changes if you’re lucky enough to live in a place like Northeast Texas.

Reading matter becomes a true necessity, and I owe thanks to Steve Dean for bringing me some fresh material.

I hadn’t heard of a book of memoirs written by the late, great R.E. Peppy Blount.

At 6 feet 5 inches in height and 230 pounds, he must have made a lasting impression during a life that ended in 2010.The title of his book alone would make it memorable: Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Play Football.

Peppy’s life was so eventful that the front and back fly leaves of the dust jacket could hardly contain the listings.

IN BRIEF, they mention that Peppy played on three teams that were undefeated in three separate bowls: Cotton, Sugar and Orange. When he played four seasons his time was divided between UT-Austin classes, Longhorn football and the Texas House of Representatives, where he was first elected in 1947.

At that time he was the youngest person ever elected to the House, and he went on to serve three terms.

He served as county judge of Gregg County and as a member of the Longview school board , among many other civic activities.

One of the chapters where I found Peppy most eloquent was titled Playing with Pain — for Fun.

HE WROTE in part:

“After defeating A&M in the final game of the football season my freshman year in1945, I came out for the varsity basketball team during the week before we resumed practice in preparation for the Cotton Bowl . . . Having made the varsity basketball team, when we arrived in Austin on January 2nd—fresh from our Cotton Bowl victory over Missouri—I tarried only long enough to pick up some clean clothes and board the train for Fayetteville, Arkansas with the Texas basketball team.

“While I had some minor aches and pains relative to football through high school and at the University, and at the professional level, I was about to be introduced to pain at a level I had never dreamed.

“The basketball season went well until the third game of conference play when the Aggies came to Gregory Gym. It wasn’t difficult to get up for the Aggies, and we jumped out in front the first minute and never relinquished the lead for a 46-42 victory. The never to be forgotten event I remember vividly occurred near the end of the first half before an overflow, standing room only crowd.

“An Aggie took a shot that bounced high off the backboard rim, with Jamie Dawson, the six foot-eight inch Aggie center and I fighting for the rebound. Dawson was successful as he came down with his back to the Aggie goal at the west end of Gregory Gym near the free throw line.

[Unlike what Peppy had expected when he was leaning over Dawson’s back, the Aggie jumped straight up and his head struck Peppy in the mouth, knocking out three of his front teeth. The UT trainer stuffed cotton soaked with novocaine around the exposed nerves. It didn’t help much.]

“My trouble was only beginning. The suffering I endured when the dentist filed and ground the two half-teeth to points to receive a permanent bridge caused the dental office to be refurbished and a new dental chair to be installed as I ricocheted off all four walls. In other years I’ve had blood clots in my leg, suffered kidney stones which are supposed to be on the top of the scale of pain but the continued grinding on my molars for the permanent bridge remains one of the one of the real pain experiences in my memory.”

Peppy still had a lot of football to play, and the “permanent” bridge was later replaced with a partial, removable bridge that he could take out before his football games.
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