My friendship with Lee spanned 40 years, beginning in the "hot type" early 1970s when we were cutting our teeth working a few feet away from each other in a Deep South newsroom. Lee Cearnal defined "one of a kind." If ever there was an affable, horrifically serious, no-frills, straight-shooting bulldog of a sheepdog, it was Lee Cearnal. His laugh was as contagious as a head cold. His work ethic was inviolate. His attention to detail was that of an American eagle. When called for, he could pull out his steel stare in a nanno-second and hit you right between the eyes with his eyes, every time, and reduce you to humble paper pulp. He didn't own a white towel to throw, ever, in any situation -- but he could put up a red flag in a heartbeat. You've got to think that if there is a sit-down coffee shop in the after-life, Lee is there every morning, probably sitting next to and chatting with the likes of Marion R. Morrison, whom most of us knew as John Wayne. Lee, we hardly knew ya.