Mark, it started several years ago...

Mark,

It started several years ago, when I saw an ad in Our State Magazine for Salter Path. I have enjoyed the snippets of music from your website. Please send a CD to me. North Carolina will always be my "home" and your music will help keep it that way. Randy M.

(I then sent him a CD and this was his next letter to me):

Mark,

Thank you for the extra CD. It will go to my sister, now in Minnesota. We both enjoyed our time in the Morehead NC area this past summer. Your songs "ring loud" with the real life of Salter Path and with comfort in knowing our Lord. I am enjoying listening to the CD you sent and hope to visit NC again soon. PS I know I sent extra money, but that is ok, keep it. Randy M.

From Robin, wife of an old Panama pal...

Mark, I've been reading your booklet, Will This Town Survive?
It really takes me back to growing up in Mississippi.  I spent my last 3 years of high school in the small community that my family had lived since early 1800s.  There was a store, a church and a graveyard with the community spread out from that center point.  Five miles away in a little town called Pinola was a consolidated school (1st-12th).  There were 17 kids in my grade level.  Needless to say, most of them had known each other since the 1st grade.  Your music and stories take me back to a time of visiting the store with the old men sitting out front and the lives that went on there...some happy--some not so happy.  Ah, thoughts down memory lane.
Your booklet is a testament to those brave souls that live in Salter Path.  The ocean and large open waters have always frightened me.  It takes a different sort of person to tolerate those dangers, enjoy it, thrive on it.  You've done a darned good job, Mark, of telling their story. 

Vanessa Wilson Williams

I watched the Fishing with Bobby video... it made me cry. It was beautiful.

Mike Olsen from the old Zone writes:

Beautiful writing Mark. I think many of us would love to take a time machine back to that incredible place, the friends. The stuff we did as kids to enjoy & amuse ourselves was amazing; I wonder how it is now, to grow up in the old Zone areas - certainly not the same but the accessible nature and all it offers is still there to fascinate & explore... I didn't know that about Steve Nellis, sad story. Enjoy a wonderful day! Saludos and Aloha from - sunny and warm - Kauai

Edith Finley McCabe asked:

I have to ask, What happened to Bob?

Mark answers:

Bob had a very interesting life while it lasted. He joined the Air Force just out of high school. Did a twenty year stint, got married, had four kids just like his dad. But then things went a bit sideways. He went to the Middle East and did contract work for rich Arabs on their helicopters while his family grew up back in America. When it all came back together, there was no "together"...

He divorced and remarried and began a new life in Florida. He came to see me at least three times during those years while I was living in FL and NC.

When he was about fifty two, out of the blue, he went to a dentist, came home, sat in his chair, and had an allergic reaction to Novocaine. Died in his chair. He'd dived among large sharks, dodged bullets in the middle east, and more... only to succumb to a stupid dentist mistake....

Bob did not leave a lot of "friends" behind. He was not known for longevity of friendships... but he was with me. We were buds from the time we were born. I was born 4/3/53 and he was born 4/23/53 in the same hospital. Then we grew up together in Ancon. Bobby was not a loner, but he was not a "social" person either. I had many friends. Bobby picked his carefully.

He went to the Baptist Church Camp in Santa Clara with me once and actually asked Christ to be his Savior. I was there and distinctly remember it.

I will never forget his gentle, but adventurous nature. He did anything I wanted to do and vice versa. No matter the weather or crocs swimming by. If I said, "Let's go," he'd say yes. And his mother would drive us there and then pick us up twelve hours later, or more.

We spent countless hours on Miraflores Lake, putting out boats in the water at the Pedro Miguel Yacht Club, then paddling all around that huge body of water. We built a camp on the other side of the lake at one time where we spent many nights camping out there.

We also spent a lot of time skim boarding and hanging out at Vera Cruz, of all places. And we built a balsa wood raft once that we launched at Cocoli Lake where I think it is to this day.... hahaha...
Patty Kelleher about Fishing song

As a La Boca girl, i thank you for both the joy and tears, but most of all for the memories.

Makes me homesick says Pat:

Mark, the tribute is awesome, a sign of a true friend. I listened to other songs and became a fan. I am headed back after 40 years away and am very excited the music made it better! Thanks for sharing your talent. Pat Hampton

Written by Ed Husum after seeing the Fishing video of Bobby and Steve... thanks Ed. Very meaningful.
Way Down In Fishland
Way down in Fishland, that's where I want to be.
With my old fishing buddies Bobby & Steve.
I use to say "Boy you guys know how to fish!"
They would reply,"Mark we have to put something on the dish."
Way down in Fishland, that's where I want to be.
With my old fishing buddies and our memories.
Well they're not in my boat no more.
They're on that  distant shore.
We had our good times and then the bad,
Steve's brother died and that was quite sad.
Steve was never the same, his soul and heart pained.
He looked for comfort and couldn't find it.
Way down in Fishland, that's where I want to be.
With my old fishing bubbies and our memories.
Well they're not in my boat no more.
They're on that distant shore.
Old Bobby lived in the fastlane.
His driving could be insane.
He took the highway of life and took it a little too fast,
He just kept going til through the valley of death he passed.
Way down in Fishland, that's where I want to be.
With my old fishing bubbies and our memories.
Well they're not in my boat no more.
They're on that distant shore.
Sometime I wonder if I could have done more.
You know that's what friends are for.
Sometimes a friend is closer than a brother.
Maybe I could have with friendship had them smothered.
Way down in Fishland, that's where I want to be.
With my old fishing bubbies and our memories.
Well they're not in my boat no more.
They're on that distant shore.
From Fishin' and Bernard Everson:

Mark, what a truly amazing tribute to Bobby. You know he's up there lookin' down with a big grin on his face!

Marco writes back to Bernie: Thanks, man. I took Bobby to church camp in Santa Clara once. He accepted Christ while there and even gave his testimony later in the week around the campfire. We were all about 15 years old then. This was a song we used to sing around the campfire.

2 Tim 1:12 "For I know whom I have believed in and am persuaded that he is able, to keep that which I've committed unto him against that day."

From Gorgona Girl about Fishin' song...

Love it, Marko!!!  I never knew Bobby or Steve, just in passing.  What a beautiful tribute to them.

From Gilbert Small about Fishin' with Bobby...

Hey Mark, I grew up in Gatun and Rainbow City and also enjoyed the Fishing along the Banks of the Canal, close to the Gatun Locks. Also, I use to catch Big Red Snappers and Jacks in The Fox River in the back of Rainbow City. In those days the Fox River was very clean. I will never forget those Precious Days of my Youth!! Enjoyed the Great Music and Video. God Bless!!

JaMarie writes about Fishin' song:

Loved your song! I'm so glad that you're still recording. It seems like one of those things you can never really get out of your system, kinda like I can't get drawing and photography out of mine.

Just watched "Fishin' with Bobby" video...
That was beautiful! Wow I like that guitar pickin too! Thanks Barbara
Mark, how did Bobby die? (Fishin' with Bobby Whitehead)

Bobby died of an allergic reaction to dental medication. Came home from the dentist, sat down and died. You probably did not know this, but when Bob lived in the Middle East (working on helicopters for private Arab sheiks) he would drive to the Red Sea, float all his gear across the coral reef for about a mile, then dive off the shelf and bring home fish. By himself.

Kelly Perry says about Fishin' with Bobby song...

Really can't remember the last time a song gave me goosebumps like this one did. Damn, I wanna go back. I want to quit right now, and go. kp

Tommy E. responds to Fishin' song...

Nice tribute to your good friends who I also knew. Song sounded good you old crooner! ha.Your voice has changed somewhat from what I remember. Happy New Year to you and your family.

(Tommy E. lived in La Boca and was exactly my age as well. That kid could hit a home run almost anytime he wanted to in Little League. Tommy was the only kid who could outrun me. But I could do more pull ups... haha... miss you Tom !! Thanks for the thoughts.)

Daryl Barnes says about the Bobby Whitehead song:

Thanks Mark, that was nice. We had it made back in those days for sure.

Michael Plucker comments on my "Almost Twins" story...
Good story Mark, I actually believed I was there.
(That's a great compliment, Mike. Thanks.)
From Harry Stinson about "Almost Twins"

Harry wrote: "You are very creative, Mark, and a wordsmith too !! :~)"

About the recent song/video "In My Father's House"... my old pal Hugh Thomas from Panama

Wow Mark,

I was enjoying a rum n coke while I listened and watched. What a soothing song. I'll be playing it again. 
I wish I could afford the property too. Just beautiful. I could do some deer hunting there for sure.
Hope you have a Merry Christmas. 

thanks for sharing, Hugh

From Gina
 Like a madrigal or canticle, Marco. Thanks for making the video~surprise, surprise! Gorgona sure rocked back in the day. Good timing with the rope pull and 'grasping hands' lyric. My Panamá hat is off to you! (Video of Woman Cry)
From Dennis Gilbert...

Merry Cholo Christmas!!

Am playing that music... toe tapping for sure! You are a talented guy Mark... thanks for sharing this song with us!

Regarding the Fountain video...

Great Video Mark and loved the music! Thanks for sharing. Scott McGuinness

(Scott, your father and I used to play music together in Panama as teens. He was a great bass player. mark)

From Stover Jenkins, an old Zonian pal...

About the Panamanasaltwater song.... Too cool! Too much fun. And way too full of life. Thank you!

I love your singing and words that go with it. That's a photo of Rio Mar you won't be able to take anymore, on a lot of levels. Wonderful. Thank you. Greetings from Hong Kong, from where I am writing to you!
PS  loved the photo of Hugh Thomas.  He's a great guy.
(guy with spear gun and fish)
Mark Hurwit former drummer in Headlight

Dude, you write good songs. Nice chords.