It seems like a hundred years ago.
Dan and Dave Taylor were seniors at Southmont High School. Rich Clouse, one of their coaches, called one of his former athletes with a recommendation that these two ultra-talented seniors be considered for part-time employment.
The year was 1979 and that was my introduction to the Taylor twins. Over the next few months, I got to know the whole family, sister Sally, mom Barb and dad Dick – a fine family.
Scratch that. They were more than fine. The youngsters were exceptionally gifted. Of course so were the parents. Exceptional children don’t happen by accident.
Dick, who passed away last week at the age of 81, reminded me of my own dad. He was a guy’s guy. From his job at R.R. Donnelley to his other activities, he was a man who understood family and responsibility. When the boys were smaller, he built a pitching machine. That helped nurture a love of baseball that carried through to a great many aspects of his life – and his sons’.
Like my dad, he was quiet most of the time, but when he talked he had something of substance to say. And there is absolutely no doubt that when he wanted his kids to listen, they did.
Dick Taylor smiled a lot. He seemed to have an eternal optimistic view of life. If there were frowns, I never saw them.
Ten or 15 years ago, I saw him walk out of Top Line Athletics, the sporting goods store that he and wife Barb bought from Joe Chamness. Dick was headed down the street toward the Post Office. There was a piece of paper or an empty cup or something on the sidewalk. Dick picked it up, reversed course, walked back past Top Line and tossed it in a trash can. Then he turned around and headed back toward the Post Office. I’m guessing he didn’t think twice about it. How many of us would have done that? I’m only speaking for myself, but I’m usually looking for ways to reduce my walking – not increase it.
To be fair, it wasn’t that big of a deal. But it was a lot like Dick – just a small thing that added up with a thousand other small things, all done the right way. It’s a definition of a live well lived.
But let me tell you a story about how Dick made an impact in a huge way.
I thought I had the flu or some sort of bug. So I went to the doctor and that led to being taken from my general doc to a cardiologist on another floor telling me that I was going to need open heart surgery – soon. The next day, still in somewhat of a daze, I was walking past Top Line as Dick happened to come out. He took one look at me and asked what was wrong. He then listened (he was really good at that) as I probably babbled on too much about my predicament.
When I was done, Dick said that he had just had some heart issues himself. He said that he was lucky enough to have a heart specialist he considered the best around . . . and would I allow him to make a call to see if he could get me in? He said a second opinion, on something like this, was prudent.
Would I? Are you kidding me? Of course I would. So Dick made the call – and the rest of the story is that Dick’s doctor became my doctor. Open heart surgery was avoided and here, more than a decade later, I’m still doing OK thanks to a great doctor I never would have met if not for a considerate man.
I thanked Dick every time I saw him after that. He always just shook his head and smiled. It was the right thing to do, he would say, and he was glad he could help.
It seems so simple. A phone call. A request. Picking up a piece of trash. Building a pitching machine. Small things that made up a man big in so many ways.
Rest in peace, Dick.

Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically in The Times. Timmons is the CEO of Sagamore News Media and can be contacted at ttimmons@thetimes24-7.com.