The People's Guide To Mexico

Tina's Rosa

Steve Rogers'
Day of the Dead Altar

Dear Family,

Steve never DID want to be on the altar, so when Churpa & I set up the altar on the porch this year for Day of the Dead, we put him on a stack of coolers, complete with spatula, rice paddle, kitchen knife, tomatillos, hot sauce and chiles. Also an extra set of bottom teeth I found in the desk drawer in the computer room (along with the 23 pairs of extra glasses frames he had squirreled away, "just in case" the world ran out of them -- Y2K preparations a la Esteban?)

I had completed a new icon, Steve as Yogi Banana -- from back in 1975 or 6 at the beach party at La Audiencia, him in his jockies with a white towel on his head, drink in hand, Arturo on his shoulder -- which we hung on the wall, along with his Todos Santos straw hat that used to make him look a little like Tweedledum, his tweed jacket from the "No Alibi" set which contributed to a recent professorial look, and his fishing poles.

The main altar looked pretty ok too, with candles, gourds, giant maple leaves and pictures of many friends and family. This year's featured new recruits were Guadalupe Rios, our "snapping turtle" shaman auntie; Felisa, who had such wonderful hair in her younger days and maker of so many delicious enchiladas; Raymond, singer and an old beau of my mother's; Lars, whom I looked after for awhile last fall; Buddy, beloved dog of Bob & Betty; and Bobbie Sheehan, Cree's boppin' hoppin' blues belting pal, dead way too young. And a mirror, to remind us each of our eventual place on the mesa, as we pass the baton along to the next keepers of this tradition. Hey, with so many good people on the table, it can't be a bad place to wind up!

As Steve said last Thanksgiving, "Dying must be OK. We've all been there. I mean, before I was born, I was fine, and I must have been dead!"

Many friends gathered on the porch in the light cast by the colored Christmas lights twined along the roof edge and around the antlers of a giant buck. dead 38 years ago in Montana. as we lit the candles and joined our hearts to salute those "over there", wherever that may be. We first named those who passed this year, including those entire species who have been lost to the planet since the last Dia de Todos Santos. Richie said Kadish for them all, inviting us to join him in the life-affirming prayer in our own hearts. Some songs were song, some poems read. And I would like to include here a very beautiful letter that Steve's friend, Tom Horn, sent him, which Steve never got to read, so I read it to him last night.

Dear Steve,

Your sudden arrival at the edge put me into a rage at first and now has me thinking about death. I suspect we all see it happen to someone else through our own fear. I have always seen myself as being carried along by some gentle but urgent current in some thick medium that had no beginning and no end. I always felt that underneath the chaos of life-dramas in which I saw you forever entangled, you too felt you were in that slow river and we somehow knew it and that it felt good and caused us to laugh a lot, not at anything but the simple joy of destiny.

It is hard to laugh now, but I am hopeful that the current is wise and that the medium is love and that it is taking you just farther along, just farther along and the event you are facing is just the passing through the shadow of a riverbank tree then back into the light. I love you Steve and already feel my part of the river missing some laughter, but I know you are there, I will always hear you, just a bit down stream.

Tom Horn

Finally, the cold night air and Steve's whisper that it was time to eat sent us into the warmth of the house. We feasted, and Morgan and Irving played and sang, including some of Steve's favorites -- "honky tonk angel" of course! Maki was there, singing along, and Orquidea had come out from Eugene, and Christine and Sadhu all the way from Portland.

May we all continue to have such richness and blessing in our lives and in our deaths! Be well, with love,

Tina & Churpa

Tina's Stories

Day of the Dead Altar
A Ritual for October
All Us Desert Rats

Tina's Mexico:
On the Road Again

#1: Preparing to Leave for Mexico
#2: On The Road Again
#3: Dia de Guadalupe
#4: Gamboling for Cookies
#5: The Geography of Ghosts
#6: The
Baby Jesus
#7: Laughing Buddha
#8: Degrees of Acceptance
#9: Keys for the Road
#10: Not Pie in the Sky
#11: Raison d'être
#12: Butterflies & Turtles
#13: Yes Howard, We did eat Steve
#14: "56"
#15: Dia de Amistad
#16: Rio Purificacion
#17: Popcorn
#18: Ode To Odette
#19: Departure
#20 Pueblita's Flowers
#21: Rearview-Mirror
#22: Lingering
#24 1st Anniversay of Steve's Death
© by Tina Rosa, 1999-2002
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Email Tina Rosa at tinar@mexconnect.com

Steve Rogers Memorial

Churpa Rosa Roger
School Days in Mexico