La Tarasca is a wonderful restaurant in Centralia, Washington that features delicious Mexican food. It’s filled with the bright colors of Fiesta ware dishes and fresh cut flowers, and it’s loud with conversation and laughter. It reminds me of Julie.
Julie died this week. Too. Damn. Young.
Her heart was enormous and her spirit could not be contained. She was all passion, fury and love. She was urgent and unsatisfied. She was a beautiful hurricane.
Julie and Lynn, my wife, laughed together and cried together. They met as new moms bringing their beautiful daughters to daycare and went on to become friends, the deep and abiding friendship that only a few know. Julie was a fierce friend.
I confess: sometimes I thought, “Wow! She’s a lot to take.” She could wear me out with her words. Julie never stopped talking. Whether they were words of praise and love or words of indignation and outrage, Julie had a lot to say. She spoke loudly with energy, enthusiasm, frustration, and fight. She was a vocal circuit-training workout.
Above all, she was a teacher. She shared her gifts and helped others discover theirs. She taught countless kids to love math, and she taught my daughter a master class in cake decorating in a single afternoon. She was a gifted teacher.
We had not spent a lot of time together recently. For the past 10 years we lived 600 miles apart. It was just Facebook and a couple vacations that brought our families together over the last few years. When we reunited, thought, the conversation picked up without missing a beat. Did I mention she was a talker?
Julie died in her sleep. Of course she died in her sleep; it was the only time she paused. In that quiet moment, she was gone, taken by cancer. Goddamnit.
Julie is the one who told us about La Tarasca. She knew Mexican food and this was the real deal, she told us. You’ll love it, she told us. She was right. La Tarasca is delicious, colorful, and loud. Just like Julie.