Saturday, August 7, 2010


After the memorial service for my step-mom Ruth, at George Washington Memorial Cemetery in Paramus New Jersey, the families went to Napa Valley Bar and Grill in the Garden State Mall for a luncheon. Everyone had on leis and Hawaiian shirts in honor of Ruth's many trips to Hawaii. I sat across from Loretta and Ken the children from Ken, Ruth's last husband. My dish, salmon over a bed of rice with asparagus shoots was delicious. I can smell the dish now, just thinking about it. Desert consisted of sorbet, a small cheese cake and a chocolate cookie. Everyone was given a Mai Tai, which is a pink sweet Polynesian drink. My step-brother, Wayne, stood up and offered a toast. He explained that Mai Tai means "good" in Polynesian. He assured everyone that Ruth most likely was given a Mai Tai when she got to the gates of heaven. I never considered the possibility that heaven might be an eternal state of inebriation.
After the Luau, I had to convince Terry to rush off to Pearl Paint in order to get a watercolor kit. The store was just a few miles up the road and I found a really nice kit with 24 colors. I am sure to use it often. One color, Peach, has already made it into the last couple of sketches.
When we got back to the hotel, we found all the Thorspecken and Bradley children sitting around the downstairs bar. There was no bartender. Instead, everyone had bought down their own six packs and they used the bar's glasses and ice. There was some joking about Ruth, who probably would have frowned upon this scene. Yet in life she regretted not being able to bring these two families together. When her strong will was taken, both families mourned and in s0 doing, her memory brought everyone closer. I overheard Terry saying Ruth made the best Christmas cookies she had ever tasted. I sat across the room in a comfy sofa and took in the scene.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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