We’re sitting here at the Cancer Center one hour into an infusion that will take about eight hours total. Ernie’s dozing because they just pumped him full of benedryl. I’m eating a Lara bar and wondering how the hell Mark Gerking can be gone from this world. As Peter Cooper famously wrote about Johnny Cash, “Somehow, Mark Gerking is dead.”
When we were just starting to have house concerts, 2011 or so, I got a call out of the blue from a guy in Sioux City asking me for details about our upcoming Phil Lee/Tom Mason show. After a moment he asked if could do a poster for the show. “Um, uh, sure,’ I said, slightly puzzled as to why somebody would just call me and offer to do a poster. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship as they say.
Here’s one of the first of many emails I got from him. After receiving the first of oh so many wonderful posters, I had asked him if he did this professionally.
Man, I don’t know if I have words for this. Deep breath.
I loved Mark, and Ernie and Mark adored each other, which of course made me love him all the more. Ernie always considered Mark his older brother despite the fact that Mark was younger. When Mark and I would message each other he’d always end with, “Give my little brother a punch in the arm’ and I could just see his grin. The two of them had their own private music language. They bonded over Flo and Eddie and oh so many other things. Their taste wasn’t exactly the same but overlapped greatly and this ensured that they both could come up with facts to amaze the other.
Every evening when I curl up in what I refer to as ‘my corner,’ I am surrounded by Mark Gerking posters. Mark was part of our life, part of our chosen family. He will always be with us.
I will love you forever Mark Gerking.
Top photo: stolen from Van DeLisle. I imagine this was Van and Karin and Mark eating at a favorite restaurant in Chicago.
A few of my favorite posters. There is a FB page for friends you may want to check out. He was loved by many. I hope he had just an inkling of how loved he was. My thoughts are with his family, particularly son Jake (seen below in the Tommy Womack poster).