Blog Header

Blog Header

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Chi-Chi Ran, But The Bird Was Faster

I've known that I'd have to write this posting for some time, and I fear that I won't be faithful enough to the spirit of the writing.  That being said, here goes...

My wife, Ruth Anne Ashton, died on Friday, June 27.  She was 48 years-old.

I would like to add two things to this sad news.

Never underestimate the value of black humor.  Ruth and I enjoyed watching the television series Northern Exposure together because we found it intellectually stimulating.  The heading to this post is taken from one episode, "Blood Ties."  In it, a recurring character, The Jedster, visits the town of Cicely, accompanied by his hunting falcon, Taylor.  Taylor ends up hunting down a white poodle named Chi-chi.  After telling the town doctor, Joel Fleischman, about the dog's tragic death, Marilyn Whirlwind adds, "Chi-chi ran, but the bird was faster."  Ruth considered having this put on her grave marker.  Since she decided on something different ("Love is a Verb"), I thought it would be a fitting epitaph for the blog, as it reveals something about her intellect and sense of humor.

Life is fleeting.  Love is fixed.  The second season of Northern Exposure included an episode entitled, "All is Vanity."  Most will recognize the reference to the first chapter of Ecclesiastes.  (We had a passage from this book read when we were married in the Church a little over a year ago.  More black humor.)  During the episode's closing scene (see the link below) Maggie O'Connell reads Sonnet 116.  I include the link and the poem as Ruth loved this scene and I believe ours is "a marriage of true minds."

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments.  Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rose lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
  If this be error and upon me proved,
  I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

I miss you deeply, Beloved.


  1. I am so sorry and sad. Always looked forward to her posts. I pray she did not suffer in the end. I will continue to keep all of you in prayer.

  2. So glad she found you and was truly happy. She was an amazing woman and will be missed by so many.

  3. I think my post just got lost, but if I'm posting again, I apologize. Thank you for letting us know. Ruth has been on my mind since her last post. I found her writing to be a well-crafted balance between her strong research background and human voice. I am sad that her voice is stilled, that I won't have a chance to read another message from her. But I can't help but remember the care she took in preparing us for this day in her postings (I have just reread the entire blog from start to finish over the weekend).

    Thinking of all of you, KB and all of the Ashtons!

    Kate (from back in the Elburn days)

  4. Thank you for letting Ruth's words live on.

  5. I'm sorry for your loss and sorry that she is gone to the rest of the world. I was researching a phrase "suffering fools lightly" and Google led me to one of her posts. Further research made me aware she is gone. I'm sorry.