Crow’s-Feet Chronicles: The Sigs inhale Cowtown
By Cindy Baker Burnett
Apr 15, 2019
Print this page
Email this article

Once a year, Lanny’s Zeta Eta fraternal chapter of Sigma Chi of Texas A&M Commerce (named East State Normal College in 1917, renamed East Texas State Teachers College in 1923, dropped the word “teachers” and became East Texas State College in 1957, established ETSU on March 30, 1965, and became part of the Texas A&M system in 1996), gathers in Fort Worth for a reunion of the brothers. For the third year in a row, wives have been invited. Whoopee cushions have disappeared, lampshades have returned to the lamps, and the bartenders are draped in cobwebs.


Since many of the reunion attendees require some form of assistance, the hotel staff of the Worthington Hotel is attentive to the needs. Valet parking is a given, wheelchairs are an option, and oxygen tanks are first-come-first-serve. Not Lanny and me. No way. We pulled our roller bags through the revolving door, camouflaged our limps, and calmly reported to the check-in desk to request assistance in removing my infinity scarf from the vicious teeth of the automatic door.


Every year, I hear Lanny’s description of many of his Sigma Chi buddies. “Ben Ross dated a girl who died.”


“Oh, how sad,” I responded.


“Well, they broke up. I’m not sure if they broke before or after she died.”


Lanny lamented, “I’ve been in jail with bankers, businessmen, educators, and physicians.”


“You mean you ALL were arrested?”


“No. They all visited me.”


Following the wonderful dinner at Reata, everyone either gathered in the hotel lounge to watch Texas Tech vs. Michigan in the Final Four or they (we!) went to their rooms to take their sleep meds, apply their Breathe Rite strips, and watch Texas Tech beat Michigan.


At first, there was nary a wife in the hotel restaurant the next morning. The men gathered together for coffee and tales of college shenanigans, while they waited on their wives. The wives had to wait until their CPAP dents disappeared.


Sadly, I have trouble remembering all of the Sig’s names, and placing them with their wives is even more of a challenge. After all, how am I supposed to know that the fraternity brother called Duck has Millard (changed to Mallard by Sig brothers) as his middle name?


Honestly, I don’t care who “Feel Good” is, but I do remember, and not sure why, that Chester’s nickname is Filthy.


The Sigma Chi who showed up late, wearing turquoise earrings and yoga pants, was nicknamed Hoe Hannel. As Lanny said, “Hoe Hannel stepped on a garden hoe, hitting himself in the head. After that, he began dressing like a woman. We had no choice but to name him our Sweetheart of Sigma Chi.”


I asked, Lanny, what is your nickname?”


“You don’t want to know.”


“Yes, I do.”


“Okay, it was Horny Wayne.”


“You’re right. I don’t want to know.”