Steve Rowe was a bailiff at Marion Superior Court-Juvenile Division when our paths first crossed in about 1989. We struck up a conversation. A couple of days later I ran into him and his girlfriend at The (old pre-Harley) Stone Mug. They lived close by in Broad Ripple, only a couple of blocks away from me.
We cooked out a lot. Together, after much trial and error, we developed the World’s Best rib sauce. I do not know how many times we made babybacks together. I cannot remember the last time we did that, either.
We staged a slot car race—The Jigger Sirois 500. Two teams raced. By then, Steve was a Marion County Reserve Deputy Sheriff. He had a PBT (portable breath tester). One rule of the race was that a team could challenge another team’s “driver” (these were slot cars) to a PBT. If the challenged person’s blood alcohol content was less than .08, that team’s car was black-flagged until the BAC was sufficient.
Steve visited me when I was in the hospital for nine (9) days in 1994. The diagnosis was MS. He wore the new uniform he had been issued after graduation from the academy. A few years later, when I walked my first Mini, Steve worked the course. He said if I had any problems to tell a race official to page Lieutenant Rowe.
Steve met Shannon and they were close, and Shannon is a sweetheart. Shannon moved out of state, though.
Steve met Kelley. As a judge appointed for that day, I officiated over Steve’s and Kelley’s wedding. Steve and Kelley bought horses. They raised kids in some kind of foster-grandparent thing I never understood. Sometimes people change, and so do relationships. A point came at which Steve and Kelley were not married.
The past few months of my personal life have been tumultuous. Steve was there to help if anything was needed. One day to boost my spirits, Steve kidnaped me from my office and took me to a cigar bar he had discovered in Brownsburg. On my birthday, Steve met up with me at Flatwater’s. I told him good news I had received that morning—I might not have MS. We went from Flatwater’s to The Village Cigar.
A couple of weeks ago I threw the first party I have thrown since December 18. Some people played euchre. I fired up the grill. I had burgers and, in my invitation, told people to bring whatever they wanted to eat or drink. Steve brought shish-ka-bobs of some sort, and some devilish sort of pudding pop infused with alcohol. He said he had taken up trombone again, the instrument he played in high school.
When he left we promised we would get together soon.
Last night I received a telephone call and was told Steve had passed away. He was seated at his kitchen table. Initial indications are he had a heart attack.
Steve Rowe was my best friend over the past nearly thirty years. I took for granted he would be there—as a person with whom to smoke a cigar, drink a beer, or cook out some ribs. His politics were different from mine, but that did not matter. He was a good man and will be missed.
I am numb from his having passed. We should have had ribs July 5 at that party.