Mark Haines was taller than I expected.
He was also nicer than I expected.
But not too nice.
Mark was not the sort of guy who would come running over to say hello when I dropped in for a visit to CNBC headquarters. If I saw him in a hallway, he'd shout "Janie!" on his way to one of his infamous smoking breaks and keep on walking.
I loved it.
Yep. Mark called me "Janie". My dad called me "Janie." Very few people do that. Very few people are allowed to do that. It always made me feel good to hear Mark say it, because he was like a big, rough, teddy bear of a dad. I will miss him humming the theme song of "Green Acres" before coming to "Jane Wells, down on the farm!" And I'm glad we all got to see another side of him the day Erin Burnett left.
Approval from Mark was rare and, therefore, valuable. In what may have been the last time we appeared on air together, I reported on the risk to rice farmers from the rising Mississippi floodwaters. I mentioned rice "blending". Mark's reply? "I learned something today, I had no idea they blended rice."
One small line, and it meant the world to me. First, Mark had actually listened to my story (a huge compliment, as he often spent the two minutes I yapped on air preparing for the next segment or...eating?). Second, I told him something he didn't know, and Mark knew a lot.
I'll miss his bluntness, his patriotism, his skepticism, his obvious love for whatever it is he did away from work, whether it was growing tomatoes or puttering around the house on some DIY project. Mark loved his job, but did not live to work, and on a day like today, I need to remember the importance of balance.
Thanks, Mark, for the fun. See you on the other side.
Jane Wells is currently a CNBC business news reporter, based in Los Angeles and also writes the blog “Funny Business” for CNBC.com.