S: The Times of My Life...Ruf
BC: A family is pieced together with hope and faith. A family is quilted and bound with love and grace.
FC: The Times of My Life ...Ruf | Rufus Stephens, Jr. 1979-2009
2: Time of My Life by Regis Hamm I’ve been waiting for my dreams To turn into something I could believe in And looking for that magic rainbow On the horizon I couldn’t see it Until I let go Gave in to love Watched all the bitterness burn Now I’m coming alive Body and soul Feelin’ my world start to turn And I’ll taste every moment And live it out loud I know this is the time This is the time to be More than a name or a face in the crowd I know this is the time This is the time of my life Time of my life Holdin’ onto things that Vanished into the air Left me in pieces but Now I’m rising from the ashes Findin’ my wings and all that I needed Was there all along Within my reach as close as the beat of my heart And I’ll taste every moment And live it out loud I know this is the time This is the time to be More than a name or a face in the crowd I know this is the time This is the time of my life Time of my life Now I’m out on the edge of forever Ready to run Keepin’ my feet on the ground My arms open wide Facing the sun And I’ll taste every moment And live it out loud I know this is the time This is the time to be More than a name or a face in the crowd I know this is the time This is the time of my life More than a name or a face in the crowd I know this is the time This is the time of my life This is the time of my life Time of my life
3: Times of My Life
4: Uncle Donald Duncan & Mom, Meg
8: Texas Bay fishing.
9: Classic Ruf
10: Another Vaca spot......The Texas coast!
11: Sick of taking pictures but never sick of fishing!!!
16: A Memory of Rufe by David Richards I unfortunately was not close to my cousins. By the time they had started being birthed, I had moved away from Stephens central (Dallas), and was also closer in age to my youngest uncles than these mere children. Rufe was different, however. Rufus and Meg had moved close to Austin, and I remember this tiny Rufe with fascination and fondness, much like the time spent with his family. I moved farther away (yes this will have something to do with Rufe eventually), and started only coming to Texas for family time during the summer, always trying to spend time with Rufus, Meg and Rufe. It must have been 1984, College Station was the town, fajitas were a new invention to a transplant Yankee, andI was in the house one afternoon when Rufe came in crying. Finally, it came out that children were bullying him on the playground. Finally I can defend family honor, do that big brother sort of thing. Finally, my mighty 5'8" 130lbs could come into play. I stormed out and stomped over to the playground. There were two kids there, each shorter and tinier than Rufe. A bit older, certainly jackasses. Just bullies, the way they are at that age, and they were teeny compared to Rufe If he had fought with them, he would have crushed them. But he didn't operate in that way. He instead was puzzled and upset, a very gentle giant. All I could do was inwardly smile and tell them to stop picking on other kids which I'm sure is exactly what they did. I walked back, pride in my breast.
30: Dear Rufus, I wanted to write to let you know how much Kate and I missed Ruf in Arkansas. I regretted so being unable to come for the weekend in May, and I can promise it will be an annual pilgrimage for me. I feel so cheated to have him eliminated from my future. I can hardly bear to imagine how enormous his loss is for you, not only losing a son, but one with whom you shared so much. First, I wanted to tell you how highly I regarded Ruf. He had matured into the kind of human being I think the world needs more of: Bright, intellectually curious, sensitive, strong, funny, fun-loving,and engaged in life in an open-ended, whole-souled fashion. It is this last that I enjoyed so about him. He engaged in whatever he was doing in an open, intent, curious, embracing, loving way - whether that was fishing, reading, (from physics to survival to Lord of the Rings), napping, eating cookie dough or Greek salad, or playing with his cousins. I always loved having him for an audience - whether it be for my stories or my cooking - he was always engaged and appreciative, and so often funny. That he had returned to school and graduated and graduated from A & M is a testament to you both. He came to channel his intellect into his passion, found the discipline he needed, and did you both proud with his accomplishment. His promise was enormous, and, though it is a terrible tragedy that he wasn't able to continue to show it to us, how much more painful it would be if he hadn't gotten to know that about himself and shown you and us he had what it takes in spades. Kate made some chocolate chip cookies in Arkansas. When I went into the drink fridge, I saw a bowl with some dough still in it. I hunted down Kate and asked her if that was the memorial Ruf cookie dough. She smiled and nodded, adding "Nicky has already raked his fingers through it'', implying a dishonoring of the tribute. (I had to admit I had done the same! The day wound into the evening, and I was in the kitchen, cleaning up, when I heard a crash coming from that fridge. I looked over to see Nicky with a startled, guilty look on his face, having been too hasty in his attempt to rake his fingers through it yet again. But it had been one of Kate's loving memories of Ruf. When she and I went fishing together, we talked quite a bit about Ruf. One train of though was opened by her remarking, "I think Ruf was right about long distance driving.'' "Yes?" "He says the best way to drive along distance is by chewing tobacco. He's right. It revs you up, but relaxes your muscles at the same time."
31: She got into a discussion of where you put the chaw, wondering if you kept it in front of your lower teeth Not knowing much about the technique, but remembering vividly seeing Ruf, singly in a canoe, dexterously casting and paddling as headed off downriver with a bulging cheek, I said I thought you could put it there as well. She mentioned that a friend from NYU said that you should keep chewing tobacco in the fridge. When I wondered how this came up, she said she had to bring an object to class last semester that brought back strong memories. She brought in some Copenhagen, because it reminded her of Ruf, and talked about it and him. The friend, a chick from South Carolina, said of course she recognized it - all the men in her family were users. And then she mentioned that you needed to keep it refrigerated. So that explained why there was Copenhagen in the fridge next to the cookie dough! Kate was so close to Ruf, and she misses him so. Their relationship developed over years, of course, and she alway staked out a bed near his. She loved and admired him, and felt a kindred spirit in him, I think, both as a reader and an intellect and as a person who joined in life with expansive enjoyment. And then summer of 2007, they spent time in Arkansas, just the two of them. I remember being uncertain if he would want to stay after I left. When she found out that he was staying, it was a done deal. I can still see him bounding around the screen porch, ""Two and a half weeks1! Two and a half weeks! I can't believe I have two and a half weeks in Arkansas!" So many things brought him to my mind. When Ben got out the ping-pong table, I remember Ruf engaging you in on-going, exuberant battles at the table. I would look at lures that Ruf had turned me onto, though, of course, I never had the success he did. Few did! I remember his appreciation when I showed him a picture of the bass I caught on the fly-rod, which I was worried wouldn't measure up, but his resounding "Nice fish!" was all I needed! I was outfitting Nicky with a vest my kids had out-grown when he ran across a familiar foam lure. "Ruf taught me to tie this!" And I remembered and remarked on his patience. I couldn't bring myself to play spoons. But I will. And I will always remember the all-time champ, who engaged with intensity, cunning, and great good humor! Love, Leonora
33: This page intentionally left blank to insert Ruf's birth certificate | November 26, 1979
36: The Day Ruf came back from Arkansas!!
37: We all missed him back in College Station!
47: A fun long day on the river in Arkansas......obviously.
52: All things grow better with love.
54: This is a "No more pics Fe" look.
56: Grandparents, Papa and Gonny
62: Ruf and Fe in Arkansas. Floating the Little Buffalo one of our favorite vacations!!!
64: Floating and Fishing in Arkansas
65: Little Buffalo in Arkansas
72: The Texas Coast!!!
74: ACL 2007 in Austin
75: ACL weekend full of great music!
76: All things grow better with love.
82: Arkansas Summer House
83: Arkansas and College Station
84: F | Fishing at D + Ranch!
91: ACL 2007 in Austin
92: From Stansel... I have many memories of Rufus, mainly while he was an infant. Before he was born, I went to Mineola to visit Rufus and Meg. She was VERY pregnant. I told her then that she was going to have a baby soon, and she did-like within a day or two. I visited the family when they lived in Quitman, etc., I took a lot of pictures of Rufie in their Quitman front yard. I want to send you those pictures, too. While in Quitman, I remember Rufus and Meg placing a fish net over Rufie's crib so he couldn't get out before they awoke. About the same time period, Rufus and Meg came to Dallas to visit me. We went to the Southern Kitchen Restaurant on Northwest Highway. Big Rufus carried the young Ruf in a carrier, and he was only 3-6 months old but he overwhelmed that carryall because he was so big. I guess one of the last times I remember him was while he was traveling on a plane from College Station where his Dad was and Austin where his Mom was. I really miss him; I would have known him more. Oh, yes, this is just a side note: Meg took me to the Ranch in Burnet, TX to show me the Ranch. I can see Rufie working that ranch and he would love it. Stansel
94: All things grow better with love.
96: The transformation... Ruf, Jr. went through a period when he was drifting, not sure what he wanted to do and not really motivated. I was not aware of it at the time but Ruf's whole body demeanor reflected this feeling. Ruf dressed very casually with loosely fitting clothes. He slouched and had a little shuffle to his gate. He was pleasant when you talked to him bu did not initiate conversation. Rufus had told me that Ruf had one back to community college and wanted to transfer to Texas A&M. It was good to hear that Ruf had some direction but I thought little about it....until I saw him. I drove down to visit Ruf and Beck and had just driven into the driveway when Ruf drove up in his truck. I had not yet gotten out of my care when this slim, confident, attractive young man got out of his truck and strode toward the house. He looked over at me and waved and said "hi". I was floored. I could not believe the transformation. Ruf looked 6 inches taller and everything about him was different. I jumped out of the care, told him he looked great and asked him what happened. If my enthusiasm left him wondering what I thought before, he gave no indication. He brought me up to date on what hes was doing and what his plans were. Ruf had begin reinventing himself, finding who he was and what mattered to him. He had translated that intention, that desire into action and it changed everything about him fro his body, his presence, his demeanor and his conversation as well as his action. Ruf had eased to be the teenager, the defiant "emerging adult"...Ruf was his own person, he had become a man. He moved forward to become a wildlife biologist, a conservationist, a person who would take action to ensure the preservation of the outdoors he loved so much. As graduation approached he began to consider whether his objective could best be accomplished by obtaining a law degree and acting to preserve the environment through the legal system. Marjorie
99: As We Remember Ruf by Leonora Stephens In the rising sun, We remember him. In the gurgling flow of the stream, We remember him. In the back eddies of the War Eagle, We remember him. In grabbing at spoons, We remember him. In the rustling of the leaves, We remember him. In the sound of ping pong rivalry, We remember him. In the relentless thoughtful pursuit of fish, We remember him. In the laughter of his family, We remember him. In the bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough, We remember him. In landing of a fish, We remember him. In tasting the exuberance of life, We remember him. As long as we come to this sacred place of nature, We will remember him.
100: All things grow better with love.