Tag Archives: joe hubbard

Happy Birthday Hub

The other day I was racing through the land of Facebook. I was going really fast, and sifting through the unimportant to find something of meaning, something with backbone. Honestly, I don’t remember what I was looking for, but I remember what happened next. I clicked on the left side of the screen, on a link called ‘Events’. I hadn’t even done it on purpose, but for the two seconds that I saw the link open, and before I clicked back to wherever I was headed, I saw the smile. Joe’s smile. There was the little thumbnail picture of Joe Hubbard. It’s now his birthday, and I had that reminder coming up in my ‘Events’.

Suddenly my high-speed pursuit of whatever through the land of Facebook came to a screeching halt. Naturally, I smiled, as it’s hard not to when seeing Joe’s smile. I swallowed hard to push down the instantaneous lump that had jumped up into my throat. And in an instant, my perspective on my day, my week, my everything changed. Nothing was rushed in that moment, my life was at peace, totally fine, not a single complaint, for I was looking at the face of a late friend who, in the latter days of his life, went through more in single days than I have ever faced in 40+ years. So, I stopped, I looked at his picture on my screen, and where I sat, I said a little prayer regarding Joe, his family and his friends, and to ask forgiveness for me being such an bull-headed idiot. Ya, that bad day I was having, or the tiring week I was increasingly fed up with was nothing compared to what I know Joe encountered. I know there are others, way too many others, who have been through so much, but it was that moment spent with the picture of ‘Hub’ and the memory of him that got me back into gear. Thankful, reverend, and in remembrance I moved forward.

At the end of this, I have shared the link to the tribute I wrote to Joe nearly two years ago now. But before I get there, I find it quite telling that nearly two years later, Joe still affects us, brings us together, and impacts moments when impact is needed. Happy Birthday Hub.


Lessons from Joe

Last year at this time I wrote a post to my blog. But this was not just another post to pass time, fill empty space, or impress a soul; it was my attempt at a heart-felt tribute to a friend from my youth. Once posted, the reactions, comments, and emotional outpourings I received just blew me away. People reached me from various places, people I had never before met, and others I hadn’t seen or heard from in many years, and I was deeply and sincerely touched. I meant only to speak from my heart, share some truths, and humbly partake in the celebration of a friends curtailed life here on earth. Content, I wrote my piece and I let it be.


I am here again, a year later for three reasons. First, the post I wrote last January remains my most viewed, most read blog post on any day I have ever written since I started writing over the last year and a half. The most read post by a long shot. Second, I want to remember my friend. I want to remember his life here among us. I want to remember his battles, for he did so much better in his than most of us could ever do in ours. I want to remember his victories because in his heart of hearts he may have recalled them, but the person in front of him, or the one of us in present focus was far more important to him than any battle he won. I want to remember his smile because not everyone lets us peak directly at their heart. I want to remember his cause as there are many others before him, and many more since, who were stronger than I could ever be, for no other reason than they just had to be; and he was. I just want to remember Joe for being Joe. Third, I wanted to address something that’s been gnawing at my subconscious since last January, and just recently some unrelated comments brought me back to this line of thought.


Of all the wonderful folks who thanked me for what I had written regarding Joe, a few made mention of him getting better with age or things of that nature. Recent commentary comparing men of different eras, as well as mention of getting better with age, brought me to the keyboard again. Maybe I over think things some; okay I know I over think things at times, but my take on some otherwise innocent comments led to this.


It’s the middle of the night but here I sit and write not to single anyone out, nor to categorize anyone’s sentiment shared with me or others. When the dust settles from the day and the noise of now quells over the course of nightfall, my mind runs. So, I will try my very best to keep up and present my thoughts in a respectful, orderly manner. Please remember that some of these words I recall are just triggers that set my intellectual instincts in motion. There are two phrases or concise thoughts that have spurred this whole point, ‘better with age’ and ‘comparison of men from now and then’. Honestly, I have no idea how I am going to convey this properly, as if there is a proper way to compile my cyclone of thought. Here goes; I will start with getting better with age. I am going to relate my process here as I saw evidence through my friend Joe. Those of us, who knew Joe growing up, were familiar with him in his youth. While others continued to know him, live with and around him, and interact in his life. Then there are others who knew him later in life, as an adult, and maybe knew nothing of his youth. So perspectives vary at the very least.


Now my outlook; dare I respectfully say that Joe was no better a person later in life than he was at any other time in his life. Before you get all fired up, and I know this may be splitting atoms, but I ask this. Is a person any better for having better people around them, or for having a closer walk with God? Or is the person the same, having simply changed their environment and the treasures they seek? Even if I am completely wrong here, and I may be, Joe was a man who had different treasures set aside for himself later in life than he may have when he was younger. Actually, most of us do, or at least that’s what we would say. I would challenge that theory, and contend that many of us have simply redefined our treasures with a better grasp on adult articulation. Returning to the line of thought; even though Joe remained close with many friends throughout his life, he also added a support group of some like-minded, perhaps brainwashed (and whom among us doesn’t need a good washing of our brain at times) folks, who were chasing the positives in so many things we find mundane. I think of a picture, a digital photo, taken of someone or something that nearly everyone finds repulsive or offensive. Then I think of another picture, another digital photo, taken of the most glorious sunrise or sunset, or some other scene that nearly everyone finds beautiful, and most precious. Then I ask was the camera any better when snapping the second picture then it was for the first? Or, was it the environment and the focus, treasure if you will, that affected the audience and their perspective? I believe that a person in pursuit of the positive, the greater good, that which is right, especially in God’s eyes, is dynamic, and exudes a spirit that we all want to live for a moment with. That’s how I remember Joe.


Are you still with me? I hope so. Now for the other thought I wanted to expand on, ‘comparison of men from now and then’. I must also convey that I will write about men, great men, and so forth. Please know that in my reference to men going forward, I am referring to all mankind, men and women. I recently read an article about some of our fore fathers and men from that time frame versus men from now making decisions that these authors clearly didn’t agree with. Then I heard a discussion on almost the same matter among a group of people who were arguing this point or that, in favor of now, or then, but it all really was an indictment on the persons. Similar to my former point, I choose not to judge the individuals from this era or that, by way of their person, but more so by their actions, and to a greater depth, by their mindset, their focus, and their level of regard for all God’s children. Maybe I am short-sighted, or looking too hard for something that is far more apparent. But you would be hard pressed to convince me that the era from whence our founding fathers came from was a less respectful period of time than present day. Yes, leaders were in positions to make decisions affecting millions of lives, as they are now. True, not all decisions have been good ones, some have been downright evil, and there will always be imperfections. I break it down as such, certainly there have been men throughout history that have been defined forever as having been great; but why is this man or that man any greater than the next, or you, or me? Our nation’s Declaration of Independence notes that it requires no proof or explanation that all men are created equal. Again, it’s the focus; it’s the values that were held in the highest esteem by these men that sets them apart. There are examples of their mindset, bound within the beauty of the descriptive, some say flowery, writings from those times, and I believe those writings to be of better quality than most written word of today simply out of respect not only for the language, but for the subjects themselves and the countless mental images internally reviewed in order to pen words worthy of that subject’s respect. This isn’t about writing, but about the mindset, the value system, the big picture perspective of those folks from a time long ago. That author may not have been any greater a man than any of us, but his respect, his pursuit of right, and his love extended beyond himself, is worthy of emulating, if not a great example. If nothing else, he was an equal man, with his head in the right place. History will record that now, in our time, there too were great men. Some will say that these times are better than they’ve ever been in all of history, and that will also be the retort for generations to come I am sure. But, are times better now? Of that, I am not sure.


I might be considered ‘old school’ and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I would rather arrive slower to action, with acts that induces less consequence as a result of respect and careful thought than the promise of what is to come while disrupting many, and regarding few along the way. This is where I bring this loop back around to my friend Joe. In a life, I symbolize here as a microcosm of the comparison between then and now, I remember Joe as one who perused through the images of his adult life and shared out of respect for all, provoking only the calmest of response. Was he a great man compared to a misled youth? I say no to both. He was a good kid who became a man yet remained Joe, gaining esteem and rediscovered his center further from himself, translating his experience by making everyone around him feel better as he walked with God along life’s path.

Special People

Saturday afternoon I was fortunate enough to be present for a very special celebration. I attended a celebration of life, the life of Joe Hubbard, my friend. Due to family commitments, I arrived later in the event than I would have liked, on the other hand, I was honored to be there and wouldn’t have missed it. I did miss the speeches/remembrances shared by friends and family. Although I was very happy to hear from several folks as to how well they were received.

It’s been several hours since I left the safe space that hides just inside a circle of friends, where a warmth of familiarity exists that can’t always be explained, but in that circle it doesn’t need explanation, because we were all there. Joe was there today. His spirit was alive and well. I felt it in each warm embrace. I saw it in the sparkling eyes searching the room for familiar faces. I heard it in the voices that trembled when talking about him. I heard it even more in the laughter that filled the room as we all recalled times with and without Joe, brought together today to a single time and place, in fond memory of Joe. As I said to a friend today, memorial services don’t end, people just eventually go home. Joe’s effect on those who knew him will never go away. His memory will forever be embedded in the circle.

So this, more or less, leads me to the thoughts I have been pondering since I left the gathering on this afternoon. I felt like I was in the midst of some very special people. Some people may read into that or even take it the wrong way. Special. The Encarta dictionary even references special-needs children among its definitions. When you think about it, don’t we all have special needs? That’s not to take anything away from anyone but more about the fact that God created us all. We have free will. We have souls. We have spirit. We have needs. We have love. We are each beautiful individuals.

Special. Unusual or better. Held in esteem. Reserved. Made for specific purpose. Arranged for specific purpose. Additional.

Those are some definitions of special. That’s what I felt today at Joe’s Life Celebration. Special people. I am sure that many groups of friends, families, and generations feel they’re special. I was in the midst of special people today and here’s why I feel that way. When multiple generations are gathered together for one purpose, to celebrate one of us, and the quality of the individuals gathered is both measurable and impossible to discern as to where it begins or ends, it’s special. Special people celebrating the life of a special person. As I looked around the room and saw parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, kids, etc. I would wager that any of the above would have been a great group to grow up with. Special. We are all special in our own ways. I have found that the ways we are special are most often, best described, and best received when told by someone other than ourselves.

I saw people I expected to see. I saw people who I had no idea I would see. I met people I had not met before. Each and everyone I had the pleasure of addressing will forever be linked to a memory. Some will be a memory of today. Others will always be a flood of memories that rush into the focus of my mind’s eye simply at the appearance of their familiar face. Now if only I had a better memory. Seriously, it was so great to see everyone. I wanted it to never end. I wanted to go back in time and be in the moment with those around me who lived through those same moments. Hindsight tells me that I wouldn’t want to take the same road I took to get here again. As it should be.

Humbly I share the following with you. Today I was honored and humbled to meet some of Joe’s family, to renew acquaintances with others in the family, and to be approached by so many friends who I will always call friends. In the last month I have written a couple of blog entries that exist solely as a result of my relationship with Joe Hubbard. I wanted to honor him, his life, his legacy, the best way I knew how. For me, that’s writing. Writing for me, is a chance to gather thoughts, to reflect, to hurt, to laugh, to love, to relish, to allow emotions their run from extreme to extreme, while presenting words that hopefully resemble a conscious series of thought that reflects at least a little continuity. As for what I have shared in tribute to my friend Joe, I thank you all for the kind words. I am sincerely humbled by the reactions. I am thankful that God allowed me the opportunity to arrange some thoughts and reflections that was in fact, Joe’s life. At least from my perspective. I did write the words, but I was just the lucky one because I knew Joe. He lived the life; Joe lived the words. He shared with us all. He touched all of us in one way or another.

Joe was, and always will be, special people. Today’s crowd, special people. I was fortunate to be a part of today and to be among so many special people.

Joe it was great to see all the pictures of you today. If only everyone had those smiling eyes the world would rarely frown. It was a pleasure to celebrate your life today. I wish I could celebrate life everyday the way you embodied the joy of time spent here on earth, but there’s only one you. Like so many examples people could share, we don’t always recognize what we have when it’s in our midst, but only fully begin to understand the greatness as we play back the effect we knew. Special people.


God’s plan – A tribute to Joe “Hub” Hubbard

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