A few years ago, when I was with the Parkersburg News & Sentinel, sports broadcaster Steve Daughterty - who died Sunday - put me in touch with Nick Swisher.
Swisher - who was with the Oakland A's then, later with the Chicago White Sox, and now with the New York Yankees - called me on my cell phone while I was covering a Parkersburg Big Reds' girls soccer match at Stadium Field.
At the time, Swisher asked me if he could call me back, but I said then was fine and proceeded to conduct a phone interview with the former PHS and Ohio State University baseball standout sitting in the front row of the bleachers.
Thanks to Daugherty, I was able to get the Swisher story. But, he was like that, always helpful.
Another thing that comes to mind when I think of the late radio broadcaster is that he always addressed me as "Ronnie" when we crossed paths in the media world. Except for my mother, very few people call me by that name.
Probably the last time that I spoke with Daughterty was at the W.Va. high school state wrestling tournament in Huntington, W.Va. He was a Big Reds fan all the way, and a terrific conversationalist.
The "Voice of the Big Reds" was a great guy and a joy to be around.
Another sports fellow who will be missed is Elmer Sanders.
He was known as the "Voice of the Yellowjackets."
We sat together in the same booth in the press box during Williamstown football games, while Matt Minton, who succeeded Sanders, was shouting out, "First down, Williamstown!" in the booth next door.
Sanders was a very likeable guy.
"First felt the undertow just a few days ago; Like a rug pulled out from under me." -singer/songwriter Bethany Dillon, from "Top of the World"
Dillon's song is playing, now, in my head. It's a catchy, upbeat tune, but...folks, 2009 has really been a tough year. There's been a number of people who I knew at one time who are no longer with us.
Dick Mendenhall used to make me laugh all the time. He was a lot of fun to be around.
Then, there was Rose Chutes, who I worked with a long time ago. During the past few years, my wife and I could almost count on running into her and her husband at garage sales in Marietta.
Howard Clark was a big Buffalo Bills football fan - mainly, I think, because he was originally from the western portion of New York State. I only wish that the Bills had won one of those Super Bowls that they were in - for Howard.
Susie Amrine was a very caring individual. Long ago, I used to coach her son Ben in teeball in the Marietta Bantam League. He was one of the best players on the team.
Gary Wombwell was a former high school classmate and teammate.
And, then, finally, there was Taffy.
Taffy was a beautiful collie, who, after 13 years in our household, passed away on Easter Sunday.
She's missed terribly.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441, or at firstname.lastname@example.org