Brothers in Lore

Forty years after halfbacks Dickie Don and Rickie Ron were the pride of the Corbett Comets, are their lives still just as unbelievable? Yewbet!

FORTY YEARS LATER, IT SEEMS like a fairy tale. It was 1962 when the Corbett Comets and their twin halfbacks, Dickie Don and Rickie Ron Yewbet, flashed for one shining moment across the Texas sky. Not that they were front-page news. To read about them you had to search through dozens of accounts of small-town football contests stacked in agate type on the sports page of the Dallas Times Herald, where I worked as a sportswriter. The Comets were undefeated, their record marred only by an inexplicable 0-0 tie with archrival East Dozier in bi-district. For the few of us who knew of their exploits, however, the ‘62 Comets are as unforgettable as that pair of argyle socks you owned as a young dandy.

For years I’ve wondered what happened to the Yewbet twins, so last month I went looking for them in Corbett, an obscure flyspeck on the map to nowhere, lost among miles of cotton and cornfields, cedar breaks, and oil rigs. Near a water tower with the faded blue legend COMETS ‘62, I stopped at a Dairy Queen to ask directions. Three boys in letter jackets were swiping fries through a bath of ketchup. When I asked about the legendary Yewbets, they gave me the blank look one would expect upon asking a teenager what he thought of the Warren Report.

“Hell, that bunch of clowns couldn’t carry the Yewbets’ jockstraps in a front-end loader,” a man with the name “Spud” stenciled on his hard hat called out. “They ain’t won a game in two and a half years.” Spud was drinking coffee with several other construction workers. When I asked how to find the Yewbets, he laughed and said, “Dickie’s probably sleeping one off in that haunted house on the hill. As for Rickie, ask Patsy Ruth here.” He nodded at the attractive blond waitress who was refilling their coffee cups. Patsy Ruth blushed but said nothing. “He’s your grandpa, ain’t that right, honey?” Spud smirked.

Her young face went hard as she intentionally let his cup overflow, spilling boiling coffee in his lap. “That’s what people say,” she replied matter-of-factly. “My granny, Wilmadean Hargrove, was a majorette in the Fighting Comets band. She got knocked up one night near the south end zone. Granny never said who the daddy was, but everyone in town says it was Rickie.”

“Interesting,” I said.

“Mister, you don’t know the half of it,” she said, an ironic smile crossing her lips. “Granny’s high school sweetheart was Dickie, not Rickie. Dickie

Tags: THE CULTURE

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