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'Happy Trails' to longtime Aegis outdoors columnist Hayward Putnam

BY RANDY MCROBERTS, rmcroberts@theaegis.com

1:48 PM EST, January 22, 2013

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OK, so we now know who's heading to the Super Bowl in a week and a half and we also know who made the right two picks in the weekend's respective conference championship games.

That is me. Just a recap. I wrote that the '49ers could win if they limited the turnovers and I wrote the Ravens win in a squeaker. Well, it wasn't quite the squeaker, unless you're talking about the tightness in Tom Brady's jaws, but for all you Ravens fans, you loved it and I can't blame ya. Congrats on the win, another appearance in the big game and good luck. I will wait until next week to give my opinions on just who will win the big game.

While most were getting all fired up in preparation for the previously mentioned games, the passing of friends and others seemed to take center stage for me.

We all loved the "Earl of Baltimore" or as he was named, Earl Weaver. Weaver was the fiery skipper of those Baltimore Orioles who were in the thick of things every year in my early childhood. Those scenes of Earl turning his hat backward and pointing his finger at any and all umpires is a picture forever etched in my mind and surely many of yours, too. Weaver reportedly died late Friday.

Then on Saturday, word comes that Dr. Tommy Jordan, a Havre de Grace native, died sometime in the early evening. Dr. Jordan was one of those persons who was nice to be around. He was good with his patients and he was more than easy to talk to away from his professional setting. I had talked with him a number of times over the years at wrestling events here in the county. I'd also seen and talked with him at the Upper Chesapeake Health System's Star Night galas held every two years in Baltimore.

Dr. Jordan was a doctor to many and friend to many more. May he rest in peace.

The week started, however, with the loss of another friend, a colleague, our outdoors writer Hayward Lee Putnam. Hayward died last Wednesday after his battle with pulmonary fibrosis.

Hayward touched many lives, whether through his jobs, his hobbies, his church or his writing.

My first dealings came with Hayward back in the mid-1990s, though he had been writing his outdoors column for way more years than that, by the time I had the pleasure of meeting him.

In those days, Hayward faxed his columns over to us, but it wasn't really all that long, and we were getting the column by email, which made things easier on both ends.

It was also in those early days, Hayward was getting his compensation by check on a monthly basis. Time changed that, too. Soon, Hayward was forced to receive payments electronically, which ironically, seemed to slow things down. That's when I got to talk to Hayward the most. I'd get the call, "Randy, Hayward, I haven't got paid." It was a friendly poke, but a serious and well deserved one as well.

As the years have gone by, our talks have been about a lot of things, but not payment related. Hayward's service to our readers has been invaluable and it will be an absence on our pages.

Hayward's funeral was held Monday in White Hall and it was quite the nice service. Leave it to Hayward, as he was rolled out of the church with family following, the tune "Happy Trails to You" was played on the organ.

Well, Hayward, it is Happy Trails to You and for me, it is until we meet again. Miss you man.