Frat Brother’s Reminder Humbles the Man Once Known as Chilly Billy

Chilly Billy with his frat brothers in The Grove at the Sigma Chi Alumni Tent at Ole Miss in Oxford. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

Chilly Billy with his frat brothers in The Grove at the Sigma Chi Alumni Tent at Ole Miss in Oxford. Photo by The Delta Bohemian

By Pontificus Minimus

The opining minimalist enjoyed a long overdue meeting with some fraternity brothers last week after the Georgia Bulldogs trounced the beloved Ole Miss Rebels. The serendipitous encounter occurred in The Grove, a hallowed patch of ground located on the University of Mississippi campus.

Home to revelers, football-loving alumni, spectacular beauties, tents filled with tailgating extravagance, and spectacular beauties—yes, I said spectacular beauties twice; I just can’t help myself—The Grove has been described by millions of maiden-admiring minions as categorically the finest place on Earth—undisputed.

This story is too serious and humbling, so the usual tongue-in-cheek third-person-preacher’s voice will not be used here.

The game was over and I was heading to find an available porta-potty, as the academic halls had been locked and most of the porta-potties had been closed, when what to my thundering ears should I hear, but “Chilleeee Billeeee?”

Chilly Billy was my nickname in college, and the cold adjective was not attached to Billy for any reason one should be proud of past their teen years, but it was good to hear an old nickname used by few today, one I remember fondly.

I was a bit of a “rounder” in college, meaning I usually “won” whatever party I attended, meaning I felt obligated to outdo anybody doing anything at anytime, meaning I was about a five-semester-put-on-academic-probation kind of student, meaning I wasn’t worth killing. And that is the truth, but I was kinda cute at times!

Actually, I remember so little of my college days, due somewhat to having been a “bit foggy” during my spiraling-downhill late 70’s “romp on the wild side,” and partly due to a head injury nine years ago. I did remember my frats brothers, though one or two took me more than a second to accurately place.

What a delight to see some of them for the first time in over 30 years. The memories were nice, if a bit hazy at times. One Sigma Chi brother mentioned to me that he had just heard a story from another one who told a tale involving my stupidity coupled with the generosity of a kid unaccustomed to it.

I heard the story first hand about a crap game in the Sigma Chi house either my sophomore or junior year—they were really still freshman years—where a visiting high school kid won my tuition money fair and square on like my first day back on campus before classes even started.

One brother, who knew I had spent all summer trying to earn enough money to get back to college after being summarily dismissed for the umpteenth time, spoke with a future frat brother about seeing if his high school friend would give me my money back so that I could stay in school. Wow!  I don’t remember it, which is shameful, and I never knew these two guys unbeknownst to me asked the fellow to give it back.

They told me the guy who gave the money back had never done that before, and he is no longer alive for me to thank. I was so humbled upon hearing this story the other day that I was almost rendered speechless, which does not happen often.

How can I thank the quick and the dead for helping me? Not sure, but I can “pay it forward” to others in need of some mercy, grace, and a break. God help me to pass it on as it has been passed on to me time and time again, and please bless those who have blessed me! Amen!

Warren, Bunky, Kink, Disco, Jon, Doug, Hal, and Heber: Damn good to see you! Terrell, I am looking forward to seeing you and others soon. In Hoc, Chilly Billy

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  1. Terrell and I remember, for we were recruited to help! Tell him so my ZX friend, Terrell Knight. W.P.H. likes to blame his own early Ole Miss short comings on The KZ fraternity and ME.


  2. Stewart Gammill says:

    Saw everyone but you Chili. Had to catch Forrest Robert’s airplane. Then again I had a few beers from Rev’s son Eric and it was pretty crowded even after the loss. See you at Alabama or Arkansas

  3. Terrell Knight says:

    Chilli, Yea, on the tuition money and the crap game. We were going into our Junior year. It was August of 1980. It was Heber Simmons and Peyton Pittman, the day before formal rush started. Roundman had given you a second chance at school. You came up to Ole Miss with about $600.00 to last most of the year and this included your tuition. We were in my room on the 3rd floor of the EX houses. Chilli was in the “hole” wrote about 15 check and damn if didn’t come back and win $$$. That’s why we call him “Chilli Billy”. “T.K.” Terrell Knight

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