Next, we drove to the grave of a hall of famer from a different sport. Dick "Night Train" Lane played in the National Football League for fourteen seasons, and in his rookie year he intercepted a record fourteen interceptions. Even though there are two more games in the present NFL schedule than there were in 1952, no defensive player has been able to reach Lane's single season record. From his resting place at Evergreen Cemetery, we drove to the Texas State Cemetery, which held the remains of Stephen Austin, regarded as the "Father of Texas."
Our next stop was the state capitol, followed by a brief venture into Lyndon Johnson's presidential library. The building was undergoing extensive renovations at the time, which left only a few exhibits open. Even the gift shop was closed!
That night my father and I stayed at an inn in Johnson City, the location of LBJ's boyhood home. Our plan was to see the home early the next day and then go to the president's nearby ranch and burial site afterward. As I lay in bed, I thought about how exciting and strange it was that I was on the verge of completing my quest of nearly a decade.
After we were ready the following morning, we made the quick ride to the boyhood home's visitors center. As we were arranging our place on a tour, a woman who worked at the visitors center mentioned how busy the ranch got in the afternoon when busloads of tourists arrived. My father and I conferred and decided to rush over to the ranch and come back to see the boyhood home later. We knew that it would be more difficult to achieve the picture we wanted if there were a lot of people around.
Suddenly, the man to whom we assigned the Seinfeld-esque nickname "Mower Guy" reappeared from behind a tree. As he rode toward my unsuspecting father, I stood up and ran to my right before I hopped the wall, ran down the length of the cemetery, and watched from behind its back wall. When I started running, my father realized something was awry, and he turned around just as "Mower Guy" got in his face. I was way out of earshot, thankfully, but I did not have to hear them to know how the discussion was going. My father is generally not one to back down easily, but in this instance he replied, "You're right, sir. We're leaving immediately."
After "Mower Guy" remounted his lawn mower and rode over to tend to a nearby field, I made my way to the front of the cemetery.