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.
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.
“Get in here, man! We’ve missed you!”