I had a similar experience years ago.
His arms extended, covered by a long-sleeve red sweater, Marty Brennaman grabbed a 4-year-old named Gehrig and put him on his lap as if he were his own grandson.
Hugging him tightly, the long-time Reds' broadcaster said, "Your dad's going to take a picture of us."
So the awestruck dad, acting amateurishly on Marty's sudden request, quickly hoisted the camera to his eye and captured a treasured memory in a digital file. A memory for the dad, anyway.
Though appropriately named to be with a baseball hall of fame broadcaster, young Gehrig will have to wait a few years to realize the impact of this moment.
But he will realize it one day.
Marty Brennaman was glad-handing at the newly-opened Kroger store in Blanchester Thursday morning. For two hours, he regaled those who strolled past his small, uninspiring table, a piece of furniture more befitting a bat boy than a baseball legend.
But Marty didn't seem to mind. In fact, he appeared quite comfortable planted among the flowers and such at the Kroger store.
A bottle of water - marked "paid" - and several hundred Marty and Joe postcards were on top of the table. Marty grabbed a black Sharpie pen and signed away. Most read "Marty Brennaman." Some were personally signed, in left-handed script, if the request was made.
As he signed, Marty made it well known he could "talk and write" at the same time, so conversing with an ardent Reds' fan or a 4-year-old was no problem as he put pen to paper.
"I bet you're pretty strong," Marty said, his voice booming throughout the store as if he were calling a George Foster upper deck shot.
"Yeeaaa," young Gehrig said as he tightened his fist above a bent elbow, displaying a muscle only a parent would be proud of. "But not as strong as my brother."
"Whoa, I don't know about that," Marty came back quickly.
The engagement of words between the two - separated by 60 years - drew laughter from the handful of people gathered in the area. Marty led the way and Gehrig followed in his wake.
In today's society where many people associated with sports are deemed by the public to be aloof and unsociable, Marty was quick to find out more than just the name of the person standing in front of him. He was genuinely interested beyond how he was going to sign their postcard.
"What's your teacher's name?" Marty asked upon finding out Gehrig attended pre-school.
"Mrs. Washburn and Mrs. Cochran," the young boy said in his classroom voice.
"Well, you tell your teachers Marty said 'Hi,'" the bespectacled guest of honor said.
And while Marty was the primary focus, he didn't pass up a chance to let a 4-year-old take a turn at getting a few laughs. As the two looked over the postcard and its image of Marty and Joe, the broadcaster Marty asked the unassuming Gehrig what he thought about the two men huckstering Kroger Plus cards.
"I think they look pretty good," the youngster said.
"That's the right answer with me," quipped Marty, who by then was beaming from ear to ear. He looked up quickly as if to say, "And I didn't tell him to say that, either."
He didn't have to. Marty made everyone feel comfortable and welcome, much as he has for 30-plus years as the soothing voice inside the radio on Reds' broadcasts. He signed with the Cincinnati ballclub on Feb. 1, 1974. He spent two hours of his 33rd anniversary in Blanchester.
Marty provided nearly as many memories in that 120 minutes as he has while broadcasting more than 15,000 hours of Reds baseball over the years.
At least that's the way one father and son will remember it.