I can’t say that today was an uncommonly beautiful day for January in Central Texas, but it was beautiful, period, and too good a day not to get out and do something new.

For my sons and me, that something was the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park in and near (it’s in two distinct parts) Johnson City. I’d driven past the park many times over the years, but today was the first time I ever made a point of going there. I hadn’t prepared myself or my boys for any sort of LBJ-related outing, contrary to my natural inclination to collect relevant books and whatnot for days and weeks beforehand, so it was especially gratifying to see what they responded and reacted to.

We talked a lot about the sorts of improvements that “big government” brought into the lives of people like those LBJ grew up around, and I lovingly demonstrated “the Johnson treatment” to my 12-year-old. Of all the details from our touring around, Johnson’s nicknaming the small presidential jet landing on his ranch “Air Force One-Half” was a particular favorite.

We didn’t see it all, and we didn’t absorb all that we saw. But we did get to spend a gorgeous day out and about together, listening to One Crazy Summer on the way out and FM dial-surfing on the way home, and accumulating fuel for family conversations for who knows how long into the future.

At this moment, I can hear one of my sons singing down the hall. There’s always something uncommonly beautiful about hearing such a sound, and maybe our outing helped fuel that, too.