It has been hard to weather the recent deluge that has befallen Fairfield. The
torrential rains have been unseasonably severe. It is harder to weather assaults against the
community conscience and there is no season which welcomes the unfathomable fatal
assault of a young woman
Taneka Talley, a single parent, working for modest wages, was fatally stabbed in
the chest during the normally docile morning of 29 March at the Dollar Tree on North
Medicine, the military and life has taught me that one of the diagnostic tests of the
heart and barometers of a community’s conscience is communal mourning; a shared
sense of loss that transcends outrage. I did not know her and probably, neither did you.
Yet she was known to her 8 year old son, her family, her coworkers and the many that
built a memorial at the doorstep of the Dollar Tree and attended the candlelight vigil last
Wednesday. Know her or not, she has a familiar face; yours.
Is there anything more deeply shared by all than that which is most precious, life?
Is there anything more meaningless than the senseless loss of it? So, as the torrents rain
down on Fairfield, tragedy reigned on not just the Dollar Tree, but us all.
My wife and I could not shake this feeling. We went to the Dollar Tree.
Flickering in the rain were tens of candles, teddy bears, bows, cards, ribbons and
balloons. We were not there as investigative journalists or criminologists, just deeply
unsettled citizens. The staff was eager to talk, and cry. We heard of a young mother
described similarly by all... “Beautiful....you just felt so good to be around her...she
never argued, she gave people money for tax they did not have....I just can’t forget her
smile...she wanted to be a fashion designer”.
We heard of the tender, quick corporate reaction, the professional grief counselors
and something the employees said that I was embarrassed to have never thought of, “The
Dollar Tree Family.” Of all the familiar, colorful comments describing those who work
at The Dollar Tree and those who keep it afloat with their ninety nine +1 pennies; that
observation struck a chord. Suddenly, I found myself a little less blind to a very familiar
color, the color of flesh and blood. The young woman’s chest that was fatally pierced was
as much a home for hope as any of ours.
So no, there will be no snappy repartee from me this week about Proposition or
Preparation H. And for just right now, there will be no finger pointing at the Great and
Mighty Solano County City Manager, Michael Johnson, or whatever albeit real, but
comparatively picayune crises of the moment. A young single mother was murdered in
our home town, and it just plain breaks my heart.
There is nothing you or I can do to bring her back and yes, I suppose it could have
happened anywhere. This is not necessarily a testimonial of the state of affairs in
Fairfield, but our mourning will be. It is testimony regarding our society; drugs-rage-
I do know we each craft a melody, a veritable symphony of rhythms, rhymes and
notes as we compose the overture of our lives. Some say, when the music stops, we die.
In the grand orchestration of it all, we are mere instruments conducted by a higher hand
exhorting us to play our tunes with all the virtuosity we can muster. Taneka’s’ tune was
Taneka, I do not know if you can hear this melody, but it is written for you, a
woman I never knew. I hope and pray that the melodies of those whom you touched and
the song yet to be written by your young son will soar high and long.
To hear “A Mother’s Melody – This Time for Taneka”, visit www.Tonydeaf.org
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