Homer, “Whitey”, “Cotton”

(Speech given at Holmes Junior  Hall of Fame Induction Posthumously)

President Morgan, Coach, Guests

Homer would be pleased that Holmes Junior has chosen to honor him for his life’s work. Pat, his wife, suggested I say a few words on behalf of the family. Danny, Keith and Greg, Homer’s 3 sons, could not attend and send their regrets.

We, the Robertson family, grew up 8 miles from here, on a family farm now spanning 6 generations. We were pretty much a football family. Daddy and his brothers, Homer and his brother and cousins played football at Sallis once a powerhouse.

Homer was known as “Whitey” on the playing fields here at Holmes Junior. I remember the excitement building the week before a home game. Daddy, Mother and I would always get here early to find a good parking place. Daddy mainly paced the sidelines; Mother mainly worried that Homer would be hurt and I mainly watched the college students…laughing, joking in nervous anticipation of the game. The stadium lights would come on; the band would begin to play (sometimes even in tune); the cheerleaders would run onto the field…however, it was when the boys in their clean uniforms took possession of the field and we could locate the white hair that represented our family…that was exciting…important to us.

After his days here at Holmes Junior, he went on to Delta State where he was chosen Little All American Guard; he coached many places…won numerous games…championships…grew in stature.

We cannot easily, for the whole course of our lives, think with pain of any good and kind person whom we have lost. It is the very nature of their qualities that enables us to conquer our own pain and death itself; to turn the memory of them into pleasure; to survive with a peaceful aspect in our imaginations.

We are just opposite a spot which fuels our minds eye with past remembrances; the green playing field; the stadium lights; the band; the crowd anticipating the game. Yet the sight of this spot does not give us pain; it is the power of Cotton’s life while he played and coached on these fields, which doubles the charm and links the pleasures of his childhood and manhood together.

To paraphrase the words of my daughter…words she wrote in her dissertation acknowledgments…”As I knew him, he was dedicated to his profession…coaching. He believed in working hard and respecting and accepting those around him. I knew him as a quiet man, letting his actions speak for him.”

Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay,
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.

Source: A.E. (Alfred Edward) Housman (1859–1936), British poet. To an Athlete Dying Young (A Shropshire Lad, LXII). . .

Thank you for honoring Cotton. we, the family, are grateful.

(c) copyright Linda Bourgeois

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