Yesterday, July 17, was the 6th anniversary of my stepfather Charley’s death (or deathiversary, as my morbid sense of humor compels me to call it…..grief begets levity, eventually…)
Quintessential Charley - boiling the head of a mule deer in our kitchen. The house reeked for days. Never again, Ma told him......
Charley was a true modern renaissance man – one of those rare people who didn’t mind being defined by what he did. He didn’t work to live, he lived to work because he actively pursued the things in life he wanted to do…….actor, musician, dancer, comedian, carpenter, craftsman, hunter, fisher, gardener, father, companion…….he did it all with charisma and intensity.
Charley in Moliere's "The Mandrake" - his facial expressions were legendary. This production is how my mother and Charley met...and fell in love.
Ma and I carved out a little space in an otherwise frantic Tuesday to do one of the things Charley loved best – take a dog walk along the Payette and get a lungfull of mountain air.
Ma in what she calls her "real living" clothes - lightweight cotton shirt, denim skirt, and dweeby sandals. This is how I always picture her.
Had he been on this walk with us, Charley would have repeatedly interrupted the calm to wave an excited hand toward the massive thunderhead building in the sky and speculate on whether or not it held any rain.
I suppose this is my own "real living" outfit, because I wear versions of it allll the time - silk t-shirt over a cotton tank, skinny jeans, leather mocassins, and Hazel Cox jewelry.
We did not always get along – his intensity scared the pants off me when I was a kid – but Charley and I worked hard to forge a loving relationship between our stubborn and headstrong egos. In the end, strangely, it was his cancer that disarmed us both enough to build that bond.
Cheers - sitting on the back porch of the lovely home Charley built for his family. We cherish it.
What I do is who I am, because I strive to do what I love. Just like Charley. Happy deathiversary, you odd and incredible man. You will always be missed and fondly remembered….for our 6th year without your physical presence, we toasted you with champagne and made your favorite dinner – tacos. Here’s to you, Charley Taber.
Beef tacos - Charley style