Letter To Mark

Dear Mark,

Your memorial service is coming up soon. We will be celebrating your wonderful life, of course, but I’m beginning to get a tad weepy. On Friday, the dam will probably burst. But I won’t be alone. The people who come to honor your life will all be laughing and crying, just like me.

I never got to know you as well as I would have liked. But I always respected and admired you as a man. I especially admired your integrity. If your integrity inspired the same admiration in others (as I’m sure it did), that alone would have been enough to make your family, friends, and acquaintances thankful that you had walked this earth. But there was so much more.

Marilyn and I got a better idea of how much more there was when we attended your retirement celebration. The changes you strove to implement in fire departments in order to keep the public safer were concrete evidence of your caring heart. Yours and Marcia’s helping hands to those in need of one thing or another, be it material aid or emotional help, were spiritual evidence of your caring heart. And, of course, the love you showed (despite your often gruff exterior) for Marcia, your mom, and the rest of your family is the ultimate loving evidence of your caring heart.

I will always be grateful that you welcomed me into the family with a beer or two when Marilyn decided that she wanted me for a husband. Who says Republicans are not accepting, eh? I was nervous meeting the family, but you put me at ease. Remarkable.

Actually, the most remarkable thing was that, in a land and age of “Me! Me! Me!...”, you did all of these things and so much more without a need to hog the spotlight. Your values were rock-solid. You led by example for the simple satisfaction of a job well done, not for glory or fame.

Take care, my brother-in-law and friend.

Our spirits will remain entwined,

P.S. I intend to drink a Henry’s in your honor before I end this trip to California.

Mark at a party
Mark at a party given for us the
first time we visited from Ecuador.

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