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Memories of Stubb

June 29, 1995

Your article on C.B. Stubblefield ("Keeper of the Flame," June 15) had a profound impact on me. I was one of a privileged group of individuals whom Stubb called his friends. In fact I was lucky enough to have worked for Stubb for two years at his barbecue restaurant in Austin, where he had relocated after he was forced by the IRS to leave Lubbock, Tex. I was in college and during that time Stubb was like a father to me.

Beneath his gruff exterior, Stubb was the purest expression of compassion and humanity I have ever witnessed in a person. Although not highly educated in a book sense, Stubb was a man who lived his life simply and nobly. He derived tremendous joy and pride from feeding people and he told me many times that he wanted to "feed the world." He meant it.

When I worked for Stubb, he was renting a small space inside a very popular Austin blues bar called Antone's. From this space, he and I would dish out his magical barbecue to customers until the wee hours, while the blues flowed from the stage. The barbecue pit was in a small shack out back. Stubb never locked it, it was his nature to trust everyone.

Very near was a blood plasma center, and the alley behind the bar was always filled with homeless people. Stubb and I would constantly find meat missing from the pit, however, no one was caught stealing until one day when a homeless man carrying one of Stubb's briskets was chased down and nabbed by Stubb himself. He dragged the culprit into Antone's by his ear and I was sure I was going to see a violent side to Stubb.

Indeed, he was quite angry, but instead of getting physical with the thief, Stubb yelled at him: "Don't you ever steal from Stubb! If you get hungry, I will feed you!" To my amazement, Stubb then turned to me and said, "Rob, fix this man the biggest plate of barbecue you can and charge it to Stubb."

--ROB PEARLMAN

Carson

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