Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hub

Whenever I think of Hub Watson, my thoughts turn to long summer days, endless afternoons in Myrtle Beach, the sweet bliss of youth.

Hub passed away Saturday. His funeral was tonight. And I think whatever's left of my childhood died with him.

Hub was one of those guys you felt honored to know. He always had a smile on his face, always was the same -- a rock solid constant in an otherwise changing world.

He and his wife Barbara were friends with my grandparents. Every summer we'd all hop in our motor homes and go to Myrtle Beach, back when that stretch of South Carolina coast was still a blue collar vacation destination.

I'd sometimes ride shotgun with Hub as he steered the motor home. He'd let me use the citizens band radio and we'd talk about whatever an older man discusses with a 12 year old boy. Life was easy.

Last time I saw Hub, we had breakfast together at Amber Restaurant in Halls --- Hub, my grandfather and I. They traded knives and showed off old coins. I reveled in the conversation and drank my coffee, trying to be an adult but still feeling like a boy in the presence of men.

Hub had been sick for a awhile. He'd lost a lot of weight, didn't look like his old self. I told Barbara tonight at Mynatt Funeral Home that I'll forever carry with me special memories of those trips to Myrtle Beach, and, of course, of Hub.

Nothing lasts. We stopped those trips to Myrtle Beach years ago. Those who still visit say I wouldn't recognize it now.

I'll miss Hub, but I'm glad he didn't suffer any longer. I'll remember his ever-present smile and friendly demeanor and hope some of his gentle spirit rubbed off on me.

I'll be thankful for the fact that he was such a good friend to our family. And I'll miss those long ago summer days, remember fondly those road trips in the motor home, and marvel at how the memories get sweeter the longer the sands pass through the glass.

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