The best reunion of them all

Among the hundreds of Paul Hornung photos circulating the globe, I believe my friend Suzanne Jordan has the best.

In it, the NFL superstar rests cheerfully in a familiar chair while his teammates’ tiny daughters – Diana Kramer, Theresa Jordan and Suzanne – do his hair. That all four are so comfortable together is a testament to Mr. Hornung’s charm, the 1960’s Packers’ legendary bond, Careful Drive’s childhood magic and Olive Jordan’s culinary expertise.

A confirmed bachelor during his entire playing career, Paul Hornung loved to hang out on Careful Drive where his teammates Henry Jordan, Dave “Hawg” Hanner, Doug Hart and Jerry Kramer all lived with their families.

To a man, the Lombardi players talk about the bond they shared during their playing days, the way it transcended the field and stretched across families, miles and years throughout their whole lives.

Herb Adderley mentioned it in every conversation I was lucky enough to have with him and he articulated that transcendent bond each time he signed off an email to me. “Say hi to Peggy Fey!” he’d write or “Tell your mother I said hello.”

At every reunion, spontaneous or planned, the noise would rise a decibel or two and the spirits would follow right along, each time a teammate walked through the door.

“Henry!”

“Lee Roy!”

“Ron!”

“Max!”

“Elijah!”

“Fuzzy!”

“Jimmy!”

“Bart!”

“Zeke!”

“Willie!”

“Forrest!”

“Bob!”

“Doug!”

And the backslapping and story telling would commence as the years fell away. I’ve written before about an image I have of where these men go when their time on this old earth is through. I like to think it’s the best reunion of them all, and each time that gate swings open, the noise level and spirits of the guys inside rise.

It’s been a rough stretch for us Packer fans here on earth. We lost 10 players in the past two years, including an astounding seven members of the NFL Hall of Fame. But I think tears are for the living.

Up there, Coach Lombardi and his men are whooping it up, and each time that old gate creaks, they’re looking over expectantly, their voices and spirits rising.

“Herb!”

“Paul!”

“Get in here, man! We’ve missed you!”

I love this picture of NFL Hall of Famer Paul Hornung, at the height of his career, relaxing in his teammate Henry Jordan’s living room and letting three tiny girls — (left to right) Suzanne (the little pixie on his lap), Diana Kramer and Theresa Jordan — do his hair. The famous Lombardi player bond extended to their families.
A couple of my dad’s Packer teammates came to my 1986 wedding, including Lionel Aldridge, pictured here.
Of all the gentlemen pictured in this photo of a 1992 Mac McGee Roast, only two — Jerry Kramer (front row center) and sportswriter Bud Lea (back row second from left) are still here. The rest, from row left to right, Willie Davis, Bart Starr, Ron Kostelnik, Dick Schaap and back row left to right Paul Hornung, Ron Kramer, Max McGee and Fuzzy Thurston have moved on to a better place.
A gentleman and a gifted athlete, Herb Adderley was gracious with his time and graceful with his talent.
I took this picture of Fuzzy Thurston being announced at the 2014 Packer reunion and I like to think this view is what we’re seeing as these players move on, and from the other side they’re being welcomed with open arms …
Kind of like this…(a photo I shot of Fuzzy giving my sister Kathy one of his famous bear hugs in 2013).

4 thoughts on “The best reunion of them all

  1. Great tribute and photos. I had the opportunity to meet him at the Left Guard on my 16th birthday. His striking blue eyes. So many great memories of the Packers from the 60’s.

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