It was with great sadness that I read about Joe Bell retiring from his weekly gig at the Daily Pilot. I will miss his great stories and vast resource of human insight and wisdom that he delivered to our door on a weekly basis. Like the leaves turning color in the fall or the smell of fresh cut grass in the summer, we could always count on reading a little gem every Thursday.
It never ceased to amaze me how many circles Joe traveled in and the number and variety of celebrities who sat on the other side of his notepad over his long and distinguished career. It amused me how angry some of the residents would get when Joe would take a certain side on an important issue and like Bill Lobdell said, "he never flinched."
I can attest to this on a first-hand personal level, being one of his neighbors and a member of the monthly poker game that I had the privilege of partaking in since I moved here in 1991. I would be sitting there with my best hand of the night betting against Joe, thinking that there was no way he could beat my full house or flush. Joe would just quietly raise the stakes playing his old-guy routine to the hilt until we would either all fold or pay the price to see him turn over a ridiculous hand. I mean, how many times in your life do you see four aces? Not very often unless you lived in the Newport-Mesa area these past 20 years.