Saturday, May 26, 2012

Like me without you

It simply came up on my iTunes rotation tonight. A song I've heard both live and recorded quite a few times. I always thought it such a bittersweet, beautiful song. It followed a song on the rotation that Mike and I were playing together. The combination of us playing together followed by the Dave Mallett song . . . it made me cry.

Like Me Without You (by Dave Mallett)

I took a wrong turn one time
In a town I did not know
Wound up in a place
Where even a weed would not grow
Empty faces staring at me
Hungry people everywhere
I turned that car around
And I just drove it out of there

Don't know how it all got started
Is it in the master plan
That there could be such broken hearted
People now I understand

Just like me without you
Just like me without you babe
Just like me without you

There was a fella in my town
Shyest man I ever knew
Spent his whole life all alone
Never needed much to do

Worked a dirty job for nothing
Ate his supper all alone
Spent his weekends watching TV
Right there in the family home

I don't know where the whole thing started
Why he wound up like he did
I know life can beat you up
I guess he just run and hid

Just like me without you
Just like me without you babe
Just like me without you

You hear about it all the time
From everybody you know
This world is in such sad repair
How can she take another blow

But we get up at mornin' light
And do our healin' in the dawn
Another day to make it right
Another road to walk upon

Don't know how it all got started
Is it in the grand design
That old mother nature is just
Dying slow and marking time

Just like me without you
Just like me without you babe
Just like me without you

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Last week was the trial for the murder of my brother Mark. There are no words to describe what it's like to hear testimony about your brother's murder, to see photographs of him, to see the gun that killed him. It is beyond horrific to sit in the same room as the murderer. It's going to take time and a lot of prayer for me not to be a hateful person. I'm working on it. The murderer was found guilty of 2nd degree murder and handgun charges. One thing that I can do now is to write a victim impact statement--a letter to the judge who presided over the trial and who will sentence the killer. Here's what I wrote.

May 21, 2012

The Honorable Thomas G. Ross
County Administrative Judge
Queen Anne’s County Circuit Court

100 Courthouse Square
Centreville, MD 21617

Re: Sentencing of Charles Richter in the murder of Mark Xander

Dear Judge Ross:

Yesterday would have been Mark Xander’s 57th birthday. Mark Xander was my little brother. He was a boy whose hair turned white blonde in the summer while his skinny little body turned brown. He was a charming kid with a devilish grin and he wanted to be a trash man when he grew up. I called him “Little Honey” and, as his big sister, I wanted to protect him, to keep him safe.

Mark grew up to be a man, charm intact, with a big, generous heart. Everyone who knew him loved him. Like our own wonderful father, Mark cherished his family and worked hard to provide for his wife and his sons.

This big sister had no power to protect Mark from the hateful bully who lived next door to him. When Mark was senselessly murdered last year our family was beyond devastated. There is now a hole in our family that will never be filled.

A cruel, hateful bully willfully and selfishly took my brother’s life. Why? Was it because Mark’s dog walked onto his property? Was it because his hatred of Mark boiled and exploded to the level that he had to kill him? What kind of arrogance compels someone to shoot a neighbor in the back on a Sunday afternoon in his own front yard? Clearly this murderer is a very dangerous, very angry man who should be kept in prison for as long as is legally possible under law. I urge you to impose on him the maximum sentence possible for each of the counts on which he has been convicted.

Please let this killer, this wretched excuse for a human being, feel the impact of his action every day for the rest of his miserable life. Our family will feel the impact—the death of my little brother Mark— for the rest of our lives.

Yours truly . . . .

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Jesus and Robert Johnson

At that crossroads in Mississippi Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil. At least that’s what the legend says. Robert Johnson was a mediocre guitar player until the devil made him an offer he didn’t refuse. And, although he died young, poisoned by a jealous man, Robert Johnson became the seminal influence of Mississippi Delta blues music. He didn't even live to enjoy his fame. In the end it was a poor bargain. Robert Johnson couldn’t say no to Satan.

I understand the temptation—I’d like to play and sing like Bonnie Raitt or Susan Tedeschi. But ceding my soul to the devil is too high a price.

Jesus was tempted by Satan too. Led by the Spirit, Jesus went into the wilderness for forty days to fast and prepare for His ministry. Satan tempted Him by offering Him food and worldly power; he tried to get Jesus to test the Father. Jesus told Satan to get lost. Jesus didn’t need Satan’s empty promises. It's the power of the Spirit that makes the difference.
And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. (Luke 4:14-15)