By now you've probably heard about the passing of Jack Kemp this past weekend. Here's what you did not hear: He was just a fun guy to be around. Not a big deal, I guess. But in Washington, a rare deal, I know.

Jack smiled a lot, laughed a lot, loved engaging you a lot and never letting you go, a lot.

That's why I’m going to miss him a lot and miss our exchanges a lot more.

In your face, but always with a smile on his face. Because Jack cared a lot: about Republicans losing their soul and Democrats overplaying their cards.

Maybe because of that perfect hair and that famed quarterback career, Kemp went out of his way to prove he was no ordinary jock.

I remember well when I sent a galley of my second book to him for endorsement, it came back with whole passages highlighted and corrected, along with kind words I value to this day.

I'd kid about the hair. He'd kid back: At least his looked more real than mine, he'd say.

And so it went. And now, so it ends.

Warm memories of a man who changed history, cutting to the chase as much as he did cutting taxes to the bone. And cutting Republicans no slack. Demanding they reach out to minorities, because he said the Grand Old Party crowd needn't be the Grey Poupon crowd.

A zinger with a smile; an elbow then a laugh. Then it hit you: The quarterback connected. And you didn't mind. You shook your head and just smiled back.

A fine mind and even better heart: Jack Kemp, dead at age 73.

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