Hanging on the wall over my desk is a photo of the three ugliest cheerleaders in West Texas, a trio of hirsute harpies, urging the crowd at a United Way-Odessa luncheon on to fundraising victory.
One of them is Horace Brown. At the time, he was an artist at KMID-TV. Today, he is an on-air personality, delivering the weather report at six and ten o'clock on Big 2.
Another is myself. At the time, I was a writer at KMID-TV. Today, I'm a member of the Big 2 Alumni Association - the largest media group in the Permian Basin - and the web editor for www.newswest9.com
The last is Rick Wood, who once practiced the craft of sales account executive at KMID-TV before going on to become general sales manager at KWES-TV, NewsWest 9 ... or, at least, he was ...
Late Sunday, Rick Wood passed away, bringing an end to more than two decades' experience in West Texas media ... and an end to more than two decades' friendship we had. Rick was a hard-working man, innovative and resourceful, ready to tackle a wide variety of ventures, including - when asked - those that lay outside his job description, such as leading cheers at a United Way banquet.
The same could be said for his home life, where he and Karyn raised four of the nicest kids you could ever want to meet.
Our local profession as broadcasters, and the community we serve, is noticeably lessened by his passing. If there is any comfort to be gained from all this, it is the sure and certain belief that Rick and I - and Gene, Roy and Dale, the Duke and Hoppy - shall all be together again, someday.