Starting an article, or column, is usually somewhat difficult for most writers. However, this particular article has proven to be one of the hardest things I have had to write in my lifetime.
This column, though certainly not about me, impacts my life greatly. It happens to come at a time in my life when things are already a bit much, shall we say, on this particular subject. In the last 15 months
I have lost nine people that I love; all but one very sudden and all but one 63 or younger in age — far too young to bid farewell to this blue globe of happiness and daily grind we refer to as life.
Last week the ninth of these passed from my life, into a place he spoke of frequently. A place he believed would hold grace, mercy, hope, an all important heavenly chorus, and, most important of all, his family; of which he most spoke of his beloved father, of whom he will very soon be reunited with, here on earth, as his ashes are placed along with his father’s at the pond they fished at, together, often. Though he spoke of this place, he did not speak of it as if it were a destination he would be visiting soon, certainly not at 44 years old.
Louis “Lou” Decker was a lot of things, to a lot of different people. He was a son, brother, cousin, nephew, uncle, stepfather (though he frequently felt the ‘step’ an unnecessary pejorative term), a grandfather, an employee, a community member, a band member, a singer, a sports enthusiast, a referee, a grandfather, a co-worker, but, to me, he was a friend.
He was a man that was both simple and complicated, depending on the subject or conversation. He was simple when it came to many things in life. He simply loved his grandchildren, his job, his cat, his friends, sports, his roommates, mixing up cans of things and calling it dinner, history, watermelon and
berries, music, and God.
He loved to laugh, and he had a laugh that would catch you off guard if you could get a real belly laugh from him. He loved to put his fist up when he approved of a joke, statement, comment, or opinion that had or was being made. In fact, towards the very last few days of his life, when my husband told him that “Betty says hey,” he could barely speak, but weakly raised his fist into the air.
He was complicated, however, by some standards, when it came to certain opinions, ideas, ideologies and theories. A true Texas conservative and a proud Texas Longhorn, who also held true for the Astros and his Apaches, he was complicated in his belief that certain bible principals held true.
He was always a very proud Christian, believing in the Christianity of Jesus Christ, loving his neighbors, all of them, never shying from saying he disagreed with a few of them on certain things, but always disagreeing with respect, dignity, and most profoundly and beautiful of all, with love. He often said he didn’t understand certain ideas, or things, and disagreed with others, openly, and freely, but was
also quick to add that he certainly was not the judge of any man or woman.
He was complicated, because while he loved a good gospel song and could sing it like an angel, he also loved country, rock, and some pop music. He was proud to be Texan, and super proud to be in Gonzales,
but was also proud to have visited a few other places, and of having gained a bit of experience. My friend, I wish you had more time to visit the ones you wished for, but I hope and pray that you may now visit them all, in some fashion.
In May of this year, prior to Louis finding out he was ill, we had a company get-together, our second such event to be exact, and Louis had determined it would be “Chicken and Karaoke,” creating an event complete with a gift card for the winner, decorations, a newly purchased (by him) sound bar and speaker, and a judging system, along with chicken and rolls, all provided by Louis.
The rest of us staff and invited family members, provided the sides, desserts, some extra décor and some of the fun. Truth be told, though, most of the fun of that evening was provided by the emcee of the event, Louis Decker. He was not only the master of ceremonies, he told jokes (not always great ones, sorry buddy), he sang his own contest songs and then announced the other singers, as well as the winners of each event and prize.
He beamed and preened and just had the time of his life that night, and so did the rest of us, because he was fun to be around, and it was a great event. Filled with some gospel, some rock, some soft drinks, some alcohol, some really good people, good music, lots of laughs, and plenty of food. At the end of the night, going off the scorecards from the “judges,” Louis found me and exclaimed, “Betty, we were robbed!” He was laughing so hard, he just kept saying, “We were robbed!”
Due to scheduling in early June, our monthly get-together was canceled. It has been our last event to date. I am quite honestly not sure we will hold another — at least not for a while. It just doesn’t feel the same, when Louis loved the events so much.
Our first event, our office manager Sanya (who is also Louis’ cousin) and I referred to it as a BBQ (being real Texans, or at least, maybe raised real poor Texans). However, Louis and our publisher (my husband) Lew called it grilling. It became a huge inside joke of a “disagreement” that was of course, just having fun.
It was the playful side of Louis, doing mischievous things, that I believe we will miss the most. He called this entity “purple monkey,” because it certainly wasn’t him behaving that way. He liked the way I decorated my desk with knick-knacks, and decided I needed a picture of him, drawn by purple monkey. It was a self portrait of Louis Decker that I am including with this column for all to enjoy. I must admit, it’s quite good, it resembles him, a lot, especially his good and kind nature. I hope you find this art work to be as priceless as I do. It resides on my desk, where it has not been removed, except to take a picture for sharing.
I miss my friend, I miss purple monkey, I miss his being playful and silly, saying both beautifully kind things, and entirely off-color, but not too off-color, things. Purple monkey or no, my friend was a gentleman and a scholar. I hope he has found peace, I hope his wishes come true, and I hope he is fishing, right now, with his daddy.
As for me, I have to agree with my friend. We got robbed. We got robbed by disease and the early death of a good friend, a good man, and a loving community member.