Special Birthday

Today my father would have been 102 years old. His birthday is one I never forgot, but seldom celebrated because he was away during the Korean war or at work like any other day for the rest of his life. He was happy to get a pair of socks, maybe a really bad Christmas album, or bowl of fruit. He had few needs or wants. He has been gone now for over three decades, and if I have regrets it was not quizzing him enough about his boyhood, his service in World War II and Korea, how he earned two bronze stars, and why he had such an aversion to guns. He was not unique in that regard, his generation seldom talked about the “War,” or what they did in it.

His memory reminds me to pay more attention to the time you have with someone and to try and find out more about them. I was always too busy to ask about his parents who I never knew, to ask about his living with his grandparents and why he left the Catholic church. He played football on some of the great Tennessee teams in the late 30’s and early forties, but we never compared our football days. Most importantly, I never knew his dreams.

He loved his children, and his grandchildren even more, and I’m sure his great grandchildren would be the apples of his eye, but time took him away way too early.

On his birthday, I am always reminded that every person on earth has a story full of fun, mystery, and surprises, and that we owe it to each and every one of them to learn their story. I wish I knew more about my own father’s.


About the author

Webb Hubbell is the former Associate Attorney General of The United States. His novels, When Men Betray, Ginger Snaps, A Game of Inches, The Eighteenth Green, and The East End are published by Beaufort Books and are available online or at your local bookstore. When Men Betray won one of the IndieFab awards for best novel in 2014. Ginger Snaps and The Eighteenth Green won the IPPY Awards Gold Medal for best suspense/thriller. His latest, “Light of Day” will be on the bookstands soon.


  1. Great post, Webb. Food for thought for sure.

    I also loved the fruitcake cookies mentioned in your last two pew postings. Never knew they had potential superpowers!

  2. How poignant! I was fortunate to be an only child even if I had cousins. It seems like every time I was alone around my grandparents, I had stories told me about “the good old days”… And now I am on Ancestry.com and I am surprised how many linkages I can make just remembering faint names and some of those stories. I urge you to sign up for Ancestry and see what you can find… Not just for yourself but for your children too.

  3. I love this post. I marvel that I did not ask my Dad about his time in WWII, my mom about her parents and their small business, their childhood. What was I thinking? I guess I was not thinking. Ironically, as I have these thoughts, I realize that it’s not too late for me to share more with my own children about parts of the past that occurred before their time or ability to understand.

    1. Thank you! I think a lot was generational. I asked one of Dad’s friends about Dad’s aversion to guns. He said, “I’m not surprised.” I tried to follow up and ask what did he mean, and all he would say was, “if your Dad wanted you to know he would have told you.”

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