SI Vault
Dan Jenkins
November 11, 1963
On Friday morning, October 11, a bright, warm Texas day, Elbert Joseph Coffman woke up with a squirrel in his stomach. In his good life as a football fan there had never been a weekend quite like this one. In the next 55 hours he was going to see three college games and one pro game, and the excitement of it, the bigness of the games, made him nervous. Nervous but delighted. Football to Joe Coffman, and thousands of other Texans, is as essential as air conditioning. It is what a Texan grows up with, feeds on, worships, follows, plays and, very often, dies with. Joe Coffman, 32, married, father of two boys, businessman, University of Texas graduate, football enthusiast, was either going to live a lot this weekend or die a little.
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November 11, 1963

The Disciples Of St. Darrell On A Wild Weekend

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"What's the name of the apartments?" Pat asked.

"I got the address," said Joe. "That's all. It's one of those Miami-Las Vegas names. Every apartment in Dallas, I'll guarantee you, sounds like a Polynesian drink. The Sand and Sea, or the Ski-Sky-You, or something."

"I think it's The Antigua," said Cecil.

"Well," said Joe, "that figures."

Through the night the party was both visible and audible before Joe parked the car. People were standing on the lawn, sitting on the steps of other apartment units or gathered around a clump of trees. The door was open. A Ray Charles twist record poured out. Inside there was a curious mixture of "stewardi," as Joe described the girls, along with SMU fans, Texas fans, Oklahoma fans, Dallas Cowboy fans, Dallas Cowboys, bartenders, musicians, entertainers from the city's private clubs, models and artists.

Joe observed the crowd and turned to Cecil and said, "Go anywhur, do anythang." And they inched toward the bar.

Joe saw a man he had been with in the Army. Mary Sue saw a girl friend she was supposed to have met at the game. Cecil calmly studied the wall. On it were a Columbia pennant, a bizarre unidentified animal's head with a sign hanging around it that read, "Joe Don Looney," a bullfight poster and a hand drawn sign that proclaimed, "If the Lord Didn't Want Man to Drink, He Wouldn't Have Give Him a Mouth." In the bathroom hung a replica of the Mona Lisa. Joe saw an old fraternity buddy from Austin, an SAE. "Sex Above Everything," said Joe, shaking hands. Somebody said Henny Young-man had been there but left because nobody wanted to talk to him. Somebody said strippers were coming over from The Carousel club. A man who kept introducing himself as "Sandy Winfield" and "Troy Donahue" said it had not turned out to be a bad party, considering he had not called anyone. No one ever found out who lived in the apartment.

Joe Coffman was making coffee at home by 7 a.m. Saturday morning on four hours' sleep. He stared blankly at the Fort Worth morning Star-Telegram , which had the starting lineups for the Texas-OU game, and said, half to his sons and half to the western world, "They outweigh us, but we got too much character." By 9 o'clock he was dressed and ready, except for his lucky cuff links. "Tell you one thing, honey," he said. "If I can't find my cufflinks, there's gonna be more hell raised than there are Chinamen." Mary Sue went to a drawer and got them. "You just won the game," said Joe.

Everything moved briskly now. Joe took the 6-year-old, Bobby, to a party, and arranged for him to get home. Cecil called and said he was on the way with the car already gassed up and the beer iced down. Joe told him the sitter was due about the same time. It was Eva Mae, he said. "All I know is, she's the head pie lady at Paschal High. Bakes 20 to 30 a day." They hung up, laughing. The two couples were on the road at 10 a.m.

Cecil was plugging along nicely on the toll road when Pat reminded him that he was going 80 mph. The speed limit is 70.

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