Paul Hendel’s Life Celebration

Yesterday was a long, long day. We traveled to a musical tribute to my pal Paul Hendel’s life hosted by the VFW in Ventura, California and sponsored by the Ventura Musicians Union, Local 581.

It was a mixed blessing, good to see Madelon and good to see some of the people Paul loved dearly. There were also many people I didn’t know–fans and talent. I enjoyed the upbeat music and cried with Madelon on those that weren’t.

Some of the crowd celebrating Paul Hendel’s life.

One of the later songs was a recording of Paul singing but I didn’t hear much as I held Madelon and we both sobbed–when I first saw Mad I tried not to burst into tears when I hugged her–but sometimes there are no words–and you just cry.

I think Paul’s buddy George Dickey said it best, “That man really touched my soul and I am going to miss him.”

Although I recognized many of the musicians, my brain hasn’t been too clear due to emotional fog of late. Cowboy Mike of the Riders of the Purple Sage sang along with a long list of other talent.

I didn’t see all of Paul’s buddies but know that many were performing elsewhere as I saw a printed tribute and a copy of a few emails sent by those who could not attend.


Curly Musgrave and his wife, Kathleen made it. The two live here in the San Bernardino Mountains but I haven’t seen either of them in a while. Curly always brings a smile to my face and fills my heart with warmth. His Cowboy True (listen above) remains one of my favorite songs and the energy of the room lifted immediately as he sang. Not sure if he lost his home to the fire but when I was looking for his website I noticed his address has changed to Crestline.

Jack and Lindalee took a moment for this picture. I first met them both when Paul introduced us back in 2000 at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering here in Big Bear.

Madelon had good and bad moments but was surrounded by some good friends like Marianna –one of her many friends who are keeping an eye on her.

Marianna did a lovely painting of Paul walking into the light and copies of Paul’s favorite, Cowboy Blessing were available to everyone…you can listen to Paul singing this song in the first post about Paul’s passing.

I didn’t get a great picture of Michael but he got on stage and told a great story about Paul. He had Madelon and her pal Kim laughing and they all spent some silly moments imitating Paul’s clumsy walk…Paul was tall and so he was not always the most graceful!

As all good friends can do, Michael imitated Paul and so got chuckles from all those who knew Paul well. This was the first time I got to meet Michael but Paul shared many stories about the guy with me over the years.

Even when your heart is sad and the tears are not yet balanced with laughter…

sometimes you just have to dance…and that is how Paul would have wanted it.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, March 2nd, 2008 and is filed under Events, Small Town Living.

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2 Responses to “Paul Hendel’s Life Celebration

  • 1
    Allan & Dorese
    March 2nd, 2008 16:15

    Hi; just a note to correct the spelling of our names.
    Allan and Dorese. Thanks for the write up. Our love to you and your readers.

  • 2
    GG (Gossip Girl)
    March 3rd, 2008 08:20

    Thanks–figured I misspelled them. It was good to see you and hope to catch up with you again in the near future!