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Barnes Blogs about... a Thanksgiving memory

Barnes Blogs about... a Thanksgiving memory

by Mike Barnes

Bio | Email | Follow: @MikeB_KVUE


Posted on November 23, 2011 at 10:58 PM

The Longhorns and Aggies play again on Thanksgiving, in what could be the last game between these two rivals for quite a while.  And it's a game with a long history, both in college football and with me.

But there's another Thanksgiving match-up this year that has me remembering the old days.

The Cowboys play the Dolphins Thursday afternoon.  For most of you, I say Dallas and Miami on Thanksgiving and you get visions of Leon Lett in 1993 making a silly play in the snow, and costing Dallas the game.

But while that game was happening, I was driving to College Station for one of the coldest UT games I've ever covered.  When Leon Lett was diving for the ball, I was standing on the track at Kyle Field, having just fed back some tape of me talking on the field for a preview story.  My connection with that game is a little more removed.

But things were different in 1973.  I was only six, but already a HUGE fan of the Cowboys.  I knew the roster and most of the history.  I knew about the Cowboys and Dolphins in Super Bowl VI in New Orleans.  I knew about Roger Staubach missing most of the following season in 1972 with a shoulder injury.  I knew I liked Staubach more than Craig Morton.  And I knew the Dolphins had a perfect season in 1972, even though I thought Dallas was a better team.

This game was for bragging rights.  This game pitted the last two Super Bowl champs.

And my Dad had tickets.

Six tickets on the 50 yard line.  Section 27, row 25, seats 1-6.  My favorite uncle and my favorite cousin were coming to our new house in Duncanville for Thanksgiving and I was so excited about every aspect of that game and who I'd get to be with in the stands.

But then... in-laws got in the way.

The husband of another cousin was one of the many relatives at our house for the holiday and for some reason that was over my short head at the time, he was chosen to go to the game instead of me.

I was livid. I pouted.  I sulked.  I tried to get my way.

I lost.

All I remember now about that game is 14-7 and that I didn't like Larry Czonka after that.

And my uncle... well, actually he was my Mom's uncle, making him my great uncle... never let me forget it.  But in a good way.

His name was Glen Cooper and he would complain to me every summer that I should've been there and not the in-law.  Especially a few years later when the in-law divorced his way out of the family.

That was like the icing on the cake for my uncle.

Maybe that's why he started teaching me how to drive his pick-up around his farm in West Texas in 1977.  Just before my 10th birthday.

That's how great this uncle was, and he was always on my side.

He was so special, he rode in the limo with my Aunt Violet, my Mom and Dad and me from the hotel to the church for my wedding in 1972.

And guess what he mentioned during that short ride on the streets of Houston?

That almost 20 years later, he still thought I should've been at that game.

Now, almost 20 more years have passed, and the memories are still vivid.   My uncle's gone, but not what I remember about him and that Thanksgiving Day in 1973.

Both still seem close enough to grab and never let go. 

Happy Thanksgiving, Glen Cooper!