Clower has been president of the Yazoo City Touchdown Club, the Yazoo County chapter of the Mississippi State Alumni Association and Yazoo City's Dixie Youth Baseball. However firmly he has left on-the-field activity behind him, he is one of the most energetic off-the-field sportsmen in his part of the country, which is saying something. When he watches football he gives it 100%.
"Sit down in front of that TV," he rhapsodizes, "with the tray there in front of you, and Mama [Homerline] brings me something good to eat, and the baby crawls up in my lap to be loved on.... There ain't a day in the United States of America I love more than New Year's! Have them hoghead and peas simmerin' on the stove and sliced onion in the icebox and a whole big old pitcher of ice tea, and when the Rose Bowl ends, oh Lordy, got another'n coming from Miami. Good gracious, how 'bout it!"
He has also been known, as anyone in Yazoo City can attest, to attend a game in person. "He'll embarrass you," says local Ford dealer Bill Woodruff.
"No I won't," shouts Clower. "I'll just yell, 'Let the hammer down!' " He'll also yell, "Umpiree, throw down that rag," and "Knock 'em out, Red! Get 'em, big Red!" in encouragement of the Yazoo City Indians (who presented him with the game ball when they won their last game to go into the Big Eight state championship in 1969).
"You can hear him all over the stadium and half the town," says Jackson. "He's by far the most outspoken fan there's ever been in this stadium, or any stadium."
But nobody has ever known Clower to get into a fight with anybody who disagreed with him, or to meddle in the coach's business. "Jerry's the ideal of a school's athletic booster," says Don McGraw. "You seldom find a man who's as wrapped up in it who can keep from being critical. And he's one of the few people I really believe," adds McGraw, an Ole Miss man himself, "when he says he's for either Ole Miss or Mississippi State except when they play each other. I really believe Jerry supports the Rebels when he says that."
"That's right," Clower says. "The Poole family—Ray, Buster, Barney—who are some of the best people ever to play for Ole Miss, are my friends. The finest gallon of molasses I ever had in my life I got at their Mama Poole's house. My State friends can't understand this. "What do you want to have anything to do with them for?' they say. Lots of State fans would be against Ole Miss if they was playing Grambling."
Homerline is less charitable toward Ole Miss. She is a down-home, quietly blithe Amite Countian who was the first and only girl Jerry ever dated and also the one with whom he stood up and acknowledged Christ as his personal savior 34 years ago (a football coach named C.C. [Hot] Moore was leading the singing in church that night, Jerry likes to recall). Once in Oxford after Jerry blindsided an All-SEC guard named Tank Crawford, the Ole Miss fans began yelling "Kill 77," which was Jerry's number, and she still hasn't forgiven them.
Clower particularly treasures Homerline, he says, because "sometimes I get to thinking I'm something. Man on the radio done called me the greatest humorist in America. Man, I'm a hoss. I'll speak to the church some morning and I'll fling a cravin' on 'em and when we're drivin' home, she'll put her hand on my leg and say, 'Honey, you got kind of wound up this morning, didn't you?' No matter how great I think I am, she can usually come up with somebody who's greater."
Homerline, who never offered a word of advice when their son Ray was playing high school football for Yazoo City, is as much of a coach's friend as her husband. "A bunch of women in town went down to get the coach fired," Jerry says. "They said the coach had cussed in front of their children. Said he'd called 'em chicken-blank. Homerline said, 'I was tryin' to think what word would describe the way they played the other night, and that's the word.' Well, it broke up the meeting.