My friend Dan Lyons turns 40 on Friday.
I've known him for almost 25 years. Through that entire time, though we've disagreed on many topics (politics, music,Vanderbilt football, politics again) he has always been there for me.
He boldly defended me to his family (to whom, for a time, I was "That Chris") when I dragged him to movies on a Sunday. He stood up with me the day I got married (after throwing me what could easily be called the tamest bachelor party this side of Amish Country). He has spent many, many hours with me at the Waffle House discussing issues of absolutely no importance except to us. He has even forgiven me (I think) for accidentally getting him a date to his senior prom. He is, as you would suspect, a kind and generous man.
We've gone through years of girlfriends, weddings, New Year's Eve parties, Christmas Eve Eve movies of varying quality, funerals, Pensacola, Indiana, North Carolina, birthdays, double features, elections, and through it all he has always been there for me.
He has seen me at my best and at my very, very worst and every stage in-between...and any of you didn't have the pleasure of knowing me in my much more volatile 20's should be thankful that I've mellowed somewhat with age. Only he and my Sainted Wife could have put up with me through all that...and he had 4 extra years of it.
He has been an engineer and an educator and a Naval Aviator and the best friend I have ever had. And because I can't be there in person to celebrate with him, I wanted to make sure he was honored in my little corner of cyberspace.
Happy (Early) Birthday...and from the bottom of my heart, I wanted to say..."How 'Bout Them Packers!"