Joe Lopes - In Memorium
After Joe Lopes died last Spring, I was able to put on a contest that benefited his family, and in the course of the planning for that event I got a lot of letters and notes about Joe, about his influence on people. As I've been going through them again recently, this one again stuck out as especially poignant. Perhaps even now more so as I go through personal things which make me feel my age.
"I have been out of the loop for some time. Just a quick thought I had: a clichéd rock and roll band coughed up this nice little bit: 'Life won’t wait'. Marriage, kids, the family pulled taut by the menial nine-to-five—this is life; the bus that will not wait. Miss it and who knows what you’ll catch anymore than where it’s going. But the ride does not need to be the ca-chug of a three-axle Stageliner. Hop on and choose your seat. Heck, jump out of the window if need be.
We live a life marked by toil. Its bills from the mechanic or bank, doctors’ notes and the like that keep us struggling for air amid the blue skies of any fair city. Kids scream in the car, in our ears while idling in traffic, just as we drift into a happy place. This, however, is what keeps us at pace, keeps us looking at the joys permitted by a smile, a lost tooth, and a pair of hands interwoven in a sunset’s passion. Life wont wait—good advice from Californian gutter punks.
A man starts his career, an era of life, a car for the wayward hitchhiker to procure his long needed ride. Joe Lopes with his bar-b-que-backyard model and an intrinsic attitude that said, “I am beyond this; I will do it my way,” which adapted many youths to the sidewalk surfing soul that allowed rebellious pranksters of the beach days to devote hours, then weeks, which bled to years and lifetimes, to the sport that keeps our minds and bodies afloat amid the bobs and crests of this suit-and-wing-tipped sea of nine-to-five.
But there can be some combination of the two. A half conformo, no more square than his raucous brethren, giving way to a wife, children, and a home, while keeping the roots of his soul tenaciously anchored to its chosen path.
I never got to meet Joe Lopes, but I rode his boards, pretended I was him, in a green-lawned backyard, grinding across the sky. I was too young to realize what he had done for so many people who may not've even known that their shoulders were touch be His hand.
It’s 2002, I don’t ride my skateboard as much as I used to, and my heart is heavy. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue—Joe Lopes was all of these things and then some."
I don't want to call out the person who wrote this, it wasn't meant to be published, really... but I thought it was well worth sharing... don't wait until people are gone to tell them you love them.