Ours began early and ended late. And, aside from the blowout and flat tire on Loop-820 at 10:30 last night following the fireworks, it was terrific.
Whitney and Valerie went with me early yesterday morning to pick up the old console stereo that was being repaired in Garland. Being that close—Northwest Highway just west of Central Expressway—to one of only eleven 7-11 stores in the country that’s been transformed into a Kwik-E-Mart to help promote The Simpsons movie, I couldn’t resist. We went. We gawked. We took pictures. We laughed. And we purchased a box of Krusty-O’s cereal (they were limiting everyone to just one box each) and a six-pack of Buzz Cola. While I could make the case that The Simpsons, while not really appropriate maybe for children, is the most morally responsible show on network television, I’ll save that for a later day. Maybe after I see the movie.
My parents and my grandmother arrived at the house at about noon for grilled burgers and dogs and some wonderful little jalepeno popper things stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon. Two good meals, lots of visiting and catching up, air hockey, football, baseball, backgammon, bike riding, and another little 30-minute rain shower. Excellent afternoon.
Then it was off to the North Richland Hills fireworks show at Broadway & Avenue 26 with our good friends David & Shanna Byrnes and their 17 kids. (Just 4. Sorry.) More football. Snacks. Great visiting and a fairly decent display of fireworks. I love listening to the kids talk and visit together and comment on what they’re seeing and experiencing all around them. They’re so funny. And innocent. Mostly.
Only 56 days until football season and today’s #56 is Lawrence Taylor.
I wouldn’t have put him in the Hall of Fame based solely on his off-the-field issues. And I would have been completely unapologetic about it. But his on-field performance as a dominating linebacker for the Giants in the ’80s is without question among the best ever, at any position, in any era.
L.T. was the Giants #1 pick out of North Carolina in 1981. And he was in attack mode all the time. I’m not sure the NFL had ever seen that exact combination of strength and speed before or has seen it since. He totally redefined the outside linebacker position and dominated opposing offenses. He was All-Pro his first nine years in the league, All-NFC ten times, made ten Pro Bowls, won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award three times (’81, ’82, and ’86), and made the NFL’s 75’s Anniversary Team. He was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in ’99. But with his continual and admitted drug use on and off the field, before, during, and since his career, it’s a tainted honor at best.
Tomorrow’s #55 is one of whom we can all be proud.