It was one year ago today that Dean Barnett passed away. I wouldn't change what I said at the time:
This world could use so many more Deans, yet now has lost its only one.
Nothing has changed that view in the past year.
When Dean passed away, I felt the less I said the better -- so many other people knew him so much better and were so much closer to him.
But he was to me a friend.
Like so many others, I'm sure, I emailed Dean many times. And like few others in his position, he replied to almost all of them. To be sure, most of them were a "thanks" or a "hah!" or something short and to the point. But the point was that he took the time to acknowledge and appreciate the communication.
When I started this blog, I decided to let him know. He liked the blog, and he linked an early post at the Weekly Standard. He linked to my blog a few times, including one of the last posts he did at WS.
As we began corresponding more frequently, he made the friendly suggestion that if the inspiration hit, I should submit something to be published at the Weekly Standard. Cool. And one Friday night in June, I had a piece and forwarded it to him. We spent the weekend with him as my editor tweaking the article for submission, going back and forth on email probably a couple dozen times. While unfortunately the article didn't get picked up, it was the time with Dean that weekend that I valued most.
There was also one time when he was guest-hosting Hugh Hewitt's radio show. During the show I fired off an email just as an "attaboy". To my surprise, during the break he emailed back and told me to call in and he would get me on at the top of the hour. Well, the timing was bad with kid duty on a school night, but the gesture was very entertaining.
We had talked about him coming down for golf. I had him convinced that he should come. I continue to tell myself that were he still here, I would have had the pleasure of having my hat handed to me on the course by him.
Dean was a friend to me. And in our respective positions in the blogosphere, that meant a lot. It meant the world.
But even more than our positions in the blogosphere, it meant the world because he was just that damn good of a person, as good of a friend as I have made online.
To you, Dean.