Sunday, November 27, 2016

3 Years and One Day

It's been three years and one day since you left. Miss you and love you always.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Chapin and Ruth

I saw Mary-Chapin Carpenter last night in a small barroom. Ruth and I saw her on the tour behind the record "A Place in the World." 

Ruth, who smoked, actually met John Jennings before the show and they shared a cigarette. I thought about them both being gone from cancer and I just wished them well in that place that only they know.


I just miss Ruth and John Jennings too but she and he were both alive in those notes and words. Jon Carroll was there too. No ponytail. 


My hair is almost long enough for the ponytail. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Letter to his Wife

"I am blessed above my kind, with another self-a life companion who is part of me-part of my heart and flesh and spirit-and not a fellow pilgrim who lags far behind, or flies ahead, or soars above me. 

Side by side, my darling, we walk the ways of life; and the ray of light that falls upon the one illumines the face of the other; the cloud that darkens the hope of one casts its sable shadow upon the other; and the storms that come will beat upon no single head but both will feel their might and brave their desolation."   Mark Twain

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Hello Old Friend

Recently I talked with a male friend of mine who asked about a female friend of mine who I knew back when we were also still kids. 

I left her behind the way I left everything behind, so I told him that I did not know. I never kept in touch with anyone, so I know, how things get lost.

Ruth brought those things back to me but I still never kept in touch. The present and future were enough for me. Now the present is here and I face it alone and the future is not clear to me.

But hearing a voice from the past sometimes will let you know that all the past things eventually move into the future.

Ruth's Collage, Memorial Service, 2-14-2014

Monday, August 15, 2016

Ruth Made Me Funny

I thought this was funny. Who would known I was funny. Lost 60 pounds since this day. I am cool. 

Friday, July 8, 2016


Ruth liked me to read to her. My voice made her sleepy and she liked to sleep, and enjoyed it.

I had insomnia. Very quietly. My whole life. Two different doctors say: "It's a syndrome." So I am not sick right? Yes, you are not sick. OK, doctor, why can't I sleep. The doctor says: "You have a syndrome."

He then said that this particular syndrome manifested itself in insomnia. Apparently, a "syndrome," is/was is not an "illness." Illnesses can be cured and syndromes cannot be cured. OK, so I have been awake only 22 hours and feel asleep. But I have a question before a 20 minute to 2 hour nap.

Did Tom @kvtaam1590 #kvtaam1590 just say that if Mr Sulu had disco balls, from ice skating, and that they are near his stick shift? Someone new is coming out of the closet in a new space movie. Mr Sulu never got out of some other closet. This brings three questions to mind: 

1. If Mr Sulu did come out of the closet in the 1960's would the door slide away or have a door knob?

2. Does Mr Sulu or the new gay trekker(sp?) have a tailor who can tailor around yes, "disco balls."

3. Is someone changing a road sign in New Jersey to blink the word "poo," really news ABC and GMA. All signs in New Jersey mean "poo." All of them. Ask Snookie and spell it out for the one one with the major yabbos. 

OK that was a joke, New Jersey, and my ex-wife from East Orange named Petitioner. OK, but I did see this.

I did.

On 11-1-1975. 

Near where I live now.


I was there last night too. 38 years ago, last night, 1978, Roxy, LA. Saw it there too.



This is the point in the story where Ruth would slap me. I needed it.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Imagine you meet a woman. You've just been honorably, but forcibly, ejected from the US Army. You are more angry and disappointed with the world than you thought you could ever be. But you decide to make lemonade, horchata, sweet tea, you get it. But on the ride in from LAX you decide you can't go home just yet.
Ruth, San Nicolas Island, 1993

So you go, well nowhere and everywhere, I suppose. I mean, I was done with the world. The US Army drives and thrives on what Steinbeck described in "East of Eden." I swear to the cosmic muffin when I raised my right hand I believed these words. Just like I believed them, when I first read them as a child. "I'll have you know that a soldier is the most holy of all humans because he is most tested-most tested of all." John Steinbeck
Reflection, Ruth's Tomb, Holly Terrace, Glendale, California

But someone forgot to let me in on the fact that Steinbeck was kidding. Before my father died, because he knew he was dying, he asked me stuff like; What is English and what is Spanish? Answer? "The language of the people who conquered our people." The wise dying man then asked me: "Where does that leave you?" Somewhere on Sunset Boulevard, in a place cheaper and nastier than the Tropicana. He died at 39, when I was 11. He served too.
Our wedding flowers; at her memorial service.

No desire to go home. To what? "Miss it?" I joined the Army so she would be proud of me, and while I was gone she found her true love, and married him. So, I was a bit angry when I went in and was broken, and angry, when I came out. Anger helps you to survive sometimes. It was all I had when I was standing at a nuclear missile site in the 1980's. Get MAD! The Army's unofficial company motto. 

Certificate, Ventura County Board of Supervisors, 2014

So I got up the next morning and I looked at some papers, read a few things, and took my GI Bill, and went back to school. On the first night there, my late wife was seated in the front row. She just looked so beautiful to me. Apparently, she had just come from her job, and did not have time to change, from her, dress, stockings, coat, matching bag, heels, and a teeny chain around one ankle.
Ruth Decker Tabarez, Wedding Day, 9-19-1992

I was trying to hide in the back row and be less angry about being in school again. I had money. I was learning something. Somehow, from the first moment we met, and spoke, it was magic. We went together after 6 months. We were in school for 12 months. 90 days after that we married.
Ruth, Wedding Day, 9-19-1992

When we finally moved in together. About 18 months before we got married, I got a bit worried. Our record collections, were as different as oil and water. This is a genuine concern people! I mean, if you are with a woman who does not know Aretha Franklin and does not know how to give and get R.E.S.P.E.C.T.? Goodbye happy life!
Ruth, Memorial Collage, 2-14-2014

Well, again, all I know is what happened to me. So as I looked over 2 fairly good sized record collections, there was only one matching album. Only one. "Blue Sky-Night Thunder" by Michael Murphey who, in 1975 anyway, only had two names. We both liked the record because of the piano introduction on the song "Wildfire."
Ruth's Greatest Hits!

Then she has the audacity to die "one winter," in November of 2013. What can I tell you? "Wildfire" was her favorite song. It was our favorite song. Together. Can't sing it anymore. Last time was in 2014 in another state than California, and a few nights ago for a small child. I probably will never sing it again.
The new marker I designed myself. 4 together 4 ever!

Or might sing it tonight, by the dark of the moon. While riding. Gotta' keep riding.
Holly Terrace, Forest Lawn, Glendale, California, Ruth's tree & window, 2014

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Sending Messages

My late wife knew Morse Code, and played the violin. She was wonderful. She also liked to make her own cards. I do too.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Voted By Mail

The trouble and strife always voted by mail. She also saved every letter I wrote to her while we were dating. Just found these in an envelope.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Trigger Days

If, in the aftermath of the loss of your wife, you go talk to someone, and when I say talk to someone I don't mean your brother Roy or someone you've known all your life and who knows you. 

Forget that.

Go to a professional, listen to them, tell them the truth, see them often. Afterwords, you may feel like, "Hey I'm seeing a shrink. Am I crazy?" Well yes and no, and hello Dr. Pat.

I know now there are going to be what the doctor calls, "trigger days." Certain days that due to the circumstances of what occurred on those days, are going to "trigger" an emotional response. Recently, those triggers have been my 57th birthday, my dead wife's 58th birthday, and various and sundry hurts and life.

But I survived it, and today is a new day of a new week, and it's cloudy here near the beach, right next to the edge of the continent. The water continues to go back and forth between here and somewhere further west. Thanks to everyone who listened, dreamed, laughed, and shared these weeks with me. 

They were difficult but I will go on. For her and for me, and for those I have not seen yet.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


It's her birthday today. She would have been 58, if she had lived. We were born one year, one month, and one day apart, and we shared everything. Miss her badly but am trying to make her proud. Love never dies.

Ruth and Mark

Thursday, May 5, 2016

She Started Out As A Child

My wife, Ruth Decker Tabarez, was a beautiful child, who just got more beautiful as she grew. Her heart was enormous and she had love for everyone. She would have been 58 on the 10th of May, and I still miss her dearly. This is the third birthday, I have spent without her by my side. Miss you honey.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Where Lies Sleep?

She would have been 58 this year. If.
Ruth's Niche side, Holly Terrace, Forest Lawn, Glendale, California

Friday, April 22, 2016

Her Favorite Color

It's been long screwed up day at the end of a long screwed up week. I was wearing a purple shirt today, as I often do, and someone asked me if I was wearing it for Prince. I said no but that I wish that I was.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Exchanging Life

I have been sending messages back and forth to a woman in Canada who has lost a loved one, and who is suffering very much. I know what she means as I have been there and back, and still go there from time to time. The depression is like a black cloud that you carry in your pocket and heart. So you look for things to help you keep going. This one is for you from me, in the hopes that you will survive and thrive.

Boo-Boo Kitty

Spooky on his house

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Ruth and The Masters

Since "The Masters" golf tournament is around my birthday every year my wife would make it so that I was not bothered, had lots of snacks, and would DVD the thing when I fell asleep, and she did not like golf but she loved me true. 

When I played golf all the time, one of the things you have to do is be able to identify your ball or it's a penalty, according to USGA Rule 6.5. My mark was two small blue dots, with a pink dot in between. The blue dots were me and my son and the pink dot was for Ruth. 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter and Leon Russell

On the Joe Cocker album "Mad Dogs and Englishmen," in the bit of dialog before Joe, Leon, and the band, kill a version of the Beatles tune, "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window," is an unknown wonder.

You can hear Joe mention that it is Easter but in reality it is Good Friday and Joe is reluctantly playing at NYC's MSG. Joe has a lot of Catholic, and other religious fans, who were a bit upset at having to skip seeing Joe because of the Easter festivities, or get mortal sins scratched onto their respective spiritual ledgers.

Joe mumbles in the introduction, that "It's Easter," and that they are "living by the days" and then he fades away as he realizes that nothing he says next is going to come out sounding right to him or his fans. He literally stops speaking in mid-sentence, and seemingly loses his train of thought.

I suppose there is good cause for Joe being a little fried as the "Mad Dogs and Englishmen," deal came about through bad communication, and craziness. And Joe, who thought he was in the USA for a vacation, suddenly found himself staring down 48 shows in 52 cities, without a band. 

Enter Leon Russell and the rest is, as they say, history.

So onstage on that Good Friday day, Leon Russell, stepped to the mike as he saw Joe lose his way and in that beautiful Southern Okie drawl he uttered some of the best religious advice I believe I have ever heard rendered anywhere.

Leon Russell said: 

"Don't get hung up about Easter." 

Then someone counted in the beat and they immediately went into the tune with no further comments. I think about that comment every Easter. Being a Catholic who grew up in a town peopled by field workers, Okies, Mexicans, and Holy Rollers of every stripe, these comments seemed like blasphemy.

In September of 1970, I got my appendix out. It was pretty routine except that I had the flu when I went into the hospital and they could not wait to get the thing out, so they operated anyway. The slight fever I had really went haywire when they cut me open. I remember fun stuff like lung suctioning, frozen sheets to get my temperature down, crazy medicines, and because my parents were good Catholics, and the doctors wanted to be sure, I got the Last Rites.

For those of you who did not have the benefit of being taught by women who could handle a yardstick like a Kata, the Last Rites are a group of prayers that are given to a person who is in danger of imminent death. I was so out of it I had no idea of why a priest was there speaking Latin, years after Vatican II.

On the way home from the hospital, we stopped at the local drugstore to get some medicine, and my mother decided that since I had survived beyond all odds, she would reward me by allowing me to buy my first record. All by myself, no questions asked. I looked over all those album covers, and Joe's picture was....different, and I was too.

The other thing was that the record was already marked down, and the druggist actually told my mother they were going to stop carrying records. I think that they found records like the one I was buying "distasteful." Of course I went home, listened, loved it, and felt reborn. I also never got hung up about Easter after that.

As you can see from this missive disguised as a blog post I managed to survive for a number of years now despite my best efforts to screw things up at every possible opportunity. The one thing I absolutely did right was marry and love my late wife for 23 years; 21 pretty happily married. She remade me into a fairly decent person, but she was not Catholic.

She was an American Baptist, and her faith was very important to her. The very real comfort I find on a day like Easter is the promise that she believed in so deeply. So when she died in November 2013 from lung cancer, I was, and remain, alternately bereft and joyous.

If there is such a thing as heaven, and Last Rites or not, I never have seen it, my late wife Ruth is there. It was her great reward for living a life beyond reproach. She never knowingly hurt anyone in her lifetime. On this day especially, I wish I could say the same, but I cannot.

What I can do is remember her and strive to be humble, patient, and try and break down walls rather than construct them. Already today some of the Easter news is tinged with hatred, and this past week has been a blight on humanity. Ruth would never want it to be that way. I know she would not. So here is a picture of my late wife on Easter Day, 1962. She will live forever in the hearts of those who loved her, and continue to love her. Try and love someone if you can.

Esther, Hobbs, Clara, Ruth, and Samuel Decker, Easter, 1962

Monday, March 21, 2016

Patience and Understanding

I was looking through all the cards Ruth and I got on our wedding day and on one of them was written these words:

"Patience and understanding are the key"

What funny is they came of the least likely person to say them and they became so true through the 23 years Ruth and I were together. Really, they are the only things that matter, ever. Missing you so bad today baby but I will pull through, for you.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Saving Stuff

I remember there was an episode of "Seinfeld" wherein Jerry and his lady friend got in an argument because she had seen that he threw away the card she had sent him, which she felt he had disposed of too hastily. Which brings up the question: How long should you hang onto old cards, notes, and other junk?

I don't really know but my late wife Ruth gave me this homemade card on our 10th Anniversary and it still makes me smile when I read it. So think before you toss those cards out. They might save your life some day.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A New Year

Time continues on, the only constant. Looking for her in the sunlight.
Ruth Decker-Tabarez, San Nicolas Island, 1993