IT'S hard to believe it's been 10 years since my old buddy Jody Jividen died.
Now, when I say "my old buddy," I don't want you to think I had exclusive ownership. Jody was practically everybody's old buddy - anyone who ever met him, anyhow.
Jody was known in West Virginia as a sportswriter who covered West Virginia University and Marshall.
But I knew him best as my boss, the Daily Mail's city editor, when I was a reporter.
He was generous with his time and skilled with a story. His infectious laugh was a cackle and a hiccup.
One time I threw a book at him. I meant for the beginning of one of my stories to sound like a Raymond Chandler pulp mystery.
I don't think I nailed the tone, and Jody didn't get it. I sent a copy of "The Big Sleep" skipping across his desk.
He cracked up, but he still didn't like the lead.
When he was diagnosed with colon cancer, I thought he'd beat it. He was still young, and was getting treatment.
One time I asked, "Why didn't you get checked?"
He just said, "I did."
Late that summer, 2002, he took a turn for the worse, went in the hospital and went down fast.
I got a call that he'd died. I had to call the other reporters to let them know.
I was OK at first, but the words spoken aloud became reality and I broke down and cried the news to everybody I called. Most people I called wound up consoling me.
Jody was way too young, only 44. I'm within striking distance of that age now. His age seems even younger the closer I get to it.
You probably know someone way too young for cancer, too. The cancer center at Charleston Area Medical Center has reported a 42 percent increase in the number of patients treated there during the past decade.
I watched Charleston Mayor Danny Jones reveal on television this week that he has prostate cancer. He's 61 - with little kids. That's still too young.