HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- Sara White has done all she can to honor her husband's memory. For 19 months, she listened to speeches, made a few of her own, smiled when his numbers were retired around the country, cried when she thought how much he'd have loved every moment.
But this, her final public gift… this is the hardest. So Sara sits outside at a Jack in the Box on a Friday night, the clock inching toward midnight. She's always had reams of words, fast, furious combinations of words, like a linguistic prizefighter. Only now the words won't come, and she has one more speech to write, for his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction on Saturday. This wasn't what they planned.
She was supposed to introduce him, that's all. Then he, of the loud voice and louder smile, who'd preached since he was 17, would stand up and knock 'em dead. Now it's just her, and how can she laugh for the happiest man in the room? How can she talk for someone who always got the last word?
"I have to think about what he would say," she explains. "This is not about me. It's so hard. I don't know what to do. I'm serious. What do I do? Tell me, what do I do?" Tiny flowers blow off the nearby trees. A few blossoms land in her hair. Lightning flashes in the distance, briefly turning night to day. A smile crosses her face. "That was Reggie," she says.