Saturday, June 25, 2016


Imagine you meet a woman. You've just been honorably, but forcibly, ejected from the US Army. You are more angry and disappointed with the world than you thought you could ever be. But you decide to make lemonade, horchata, sweet tea, you get it. But on the ride in from LAX you decide you can't go home just yet.
Ruth, San Nicolas Island, 1993

So you go, well nowhere and everywhere, I suppose. I mean, I was done with the world. The US Army drives and thrives on what Steinbeck described in "East of Eden." I swear to the cosmic muffin when I raised my right hand I believed these words. Just like I believed them, when I first read them as a child. "I'll have you know that a soldier is the most holy of all humans because he is most tested-most tested of all." John Steinbeck
Reflection, Ruth's Tomb, Holly Terrace, Glendale, California

But someone forgot to let me in on the fact that Steinbeck was kidding. Before my father died, because he knew he was dying, he asked me stuff like; What is English and what is Spanish? Answer? "The language of the people who conquered our people." The wise dying man then asked me: "Where does that leave you?" Somewhere on Sunset Boulevard, in a place cheaper and nastier than the Tropicana. He died at 39, when I was 11. He served too.
Our wedding flowers; at her memorial service.

No desire to go home. To what? "Miss it?" I joined the Army so she would be proud of me, and while I was gone she found her true love, and married him. So, I was a bit angry when I went in and was broken, and angry, when I came out. Anger helps you to survive sometimes. It was all I had when I was standing at a nuclear missile site in the 1980's. Get MAD! The Army's unofficial company motto. 

Certificate, Ventura County Board of Supervisors, 2014

So I got up the next morning and I looked at some papers, read a few things, and took my GI Bill, and went back to school. On the first night there, my late wife was seated in the front row. She just looked so beautiful to me. Apparently, she had just come from her job, and did not have time to change, from her, dress, stockings, coat, matching bag, heels, and a teeny chain around one ankle.
Ruth Decker Tabarez, Wedding Day, 9-19-1992

I was trying to hide in the back row and be less angry about being in school again. I had money. I was learning something. Somehow, from the first moment we met, and spoke, it was magic. We went together after 6 months. We were in school for 12 months. 90 days after that we married.
Ruth, Wedding Day, 9-19-1992

When we finally moved in together. About 18 months before we got married, I got a bit worried. Our record collections, were as different as oil and water. This is a genuine concern people! I mean, if you are with a woman who does not know Aretha Franklin and does not know how to give and get R.E.S.P.E.C.T.? Goodbye happy life!
Ruth, Memorial Collage, 2-14-2014

Well, again, all I know is what happened to me. So as I looked over 2 fairly good sized record collections, there was only one matching album. Only one. "Blue Sky-Night Thunder" by Michael Murphey who, in 1975 anyway, only had two names. We both liked the record because of the piano introduction on the song "Wildfire."
Ruth's Greatest Hits!

Then she has the audacity to die "one winter," in November of 2013. What can I tell you? "Wildfire" was her favorite song. It was our favorite song. Together. Can't sing it anymore. Last time was in 2014 in another state than California, and a few nights ago for a small child. I probably will never sing it again.
The new marker I designed myself. 4 together 4 ever!

Or might sing it tonight, by the dark of the moon. While riding. Gotta' keep riding.
Holly Terrace, Forest Lawn, Glendale, California, Ruth's tree & window, 2014


  1. So sorry you lost her so young, Steve, but you were very lucky to have found her.