Friday, May 6, 2016

When it rains, it sometimes pours...

One of the twentieth century's major poets, T. S. Eliot, dedicated 64 pages to convincing readers that “April is the cruellest month”. That’s how the American-born British essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic, started his long poem named The Waste Land. In stark contrast to that graphic title, springtime arrived in Richardson early this year, almost mocking the recent hard drought with resilient passages. Borrowing from a line-by-line review, given Eliot’s supreme mastery of “the poetic technique of enjambment to carry each phrase over the line breaks with extra participles or -ing words (i.e., breeding, mixing, and stirring)” in his first 4 lines, I’m inclined to think he was describing the month of May – at least as I experience it on Texas time now. Falling into his iambic meter, that first section of his poem (called The Burial of the Dead) hauntingly mirrors the dichotomy of my day as he suggests that “traditional forms of art might not bring the sense of closure and certainty they once did.”

Slowly settling back into my own life after losing both of my parents in the Texas springtime (Dad in June 2009 and Mom in May 2013), I have become even more acutely aware of the extremes that I can’t help but notice in everyday minutia, every day. Sometimes I am able to fixate on them, but my mind always continues to dwell on them… in both healthy and appreciative, yet often tiresome and conflicting, ways. It’s been refreshing to spend the entire spring in Texas again. I’m enjoying watching the colors of my gardens shift in a seemingly timeless transition that happens overnight! For example, the bright yellow of Mom’s Dutch irises were replaced by the stunning blossoms on Dad’s favored squash which led up to the emergence of the wild yarrow and now the exquisite spurs of the native Texas columbine... soon mammoth sunflowers will brighten the weathered fence line.

According to Wikipedia, “There is some question as to whether Eliot originally intended The Waste Land to be a collection of individual poems (additional poems were supplied to [Ezra] Pound for his comments on including them) or to be considered one poem with five sections.” I think it’s good to have things to pontificate on, although poetry and philosophy definitely are not my topics of choice! It’s good to be stretching my limits again though as I expand my view toward the ‘new’ horizons ahead. Eternally bittersweet, the balancing act doesn’t swing through such extremes… At first my grief was like Storypeople’s Hidden Ocean where “She [I] held her [my] grief behind her [my] eyes like an ocean & when she [I] leaned forward into the day it spilled onto the floor & she [I] wiped at it quickly with her [my] foot & pretended no one had seen.” Now I can smile as quietly singing Sunshine on my Shoulders to myself in the garden releases the perpetual joy of remembering special moments with my parents while being fully engaged in this ‘precious present’ that magically and miraculously comes back to life each spring. That won’t ever fade or wash away… thankfully.

Unfortunately however, I did discover this month that newspaper obituaries do not remain posted eternally. So, for this Mother’s Day and Father’s Day 2016 (and my posterity), I reprint them here to honor my Mom and Dad, formally, once again.

Nix, Carla Sue Rucker
In her signature style that balances grace, strength and purpose, CARLA SUE RUCKER NIX closed the book of her earthly life after a sudden bout with cancer. She died peacefully at home in Richardson TX on 14 May 2009 with her family, including her beloved rescue puppy Mr Twister. A native Dallasite, she was born to Carl H and Rebekah McC Rucker on 7 Nov 1935. An exceptional woman, she graduated from Highland Park High School and attended Mary Baldwin College, Southern Methodist University, The University of Texas at Austin (BA in Education) and Columbia University -Teachers College (MA in Early Childhood Education). A talented educator, she taught in Valley Stream, Long Island and at Rosemont School and tutored with Head Start and Kramer Elementary in Dallas. While in Manhattan, she met Joe C Nix (deceased 17 June 2006) whom she married in the Rucker’s Normandy garden on 11 June 1960. A loving wife and mother, she wisely guided and selflessly supported the dreams of her admiring family while honing her uniquely inherent talents and abilities. An accomplished artist, she mastered painting, needlework, and gardening as evidenced in the welcoming homes that have entertained a variety of groups and longtime friends. A successful entrepreneur, she launched The ReArrangers interior design team, shopped the Texas countryside as buyer for Lady Primrose Antiques, and recently developed Jeffrey Walker Engravers. An energetic civic leader, she enjoyed membership in the Mary K. Craig Class, Dallas Woman’s Club, Alzheimer’s Women’s Auxiliary for Research & Education, Park Cities Historical Society, Dallas Needlework & Textile Guild, Marianne Scruggs Garden Club, Dallas Southern Memorial Association, Dallas Antiques and Fine Arts Society, Dollhouse Museum of the South-west, Afternoon Book Review Club, plus activities at Old City Park and with Mary Baldwin alumni. An active adventurer, she shared many incredible and ordinary memories with dear friends in The Sewing Club she initiated over 40 years ago, the FAARPS she traveled with here and there, the Second Sunday Social group she attended regularly, and ‘at home’ playing canasta - when she wasn’t enjoying the family’s east Texas farm or Colorado mountain retreat. A faithful believer, she loved her Lord everywhere through the Preston Road Church of Christ as a model member since 1942, Director of Classroom Teachers, Elder’s wife, and active volunteer with New Friends, New Life. Carla’s lasting legacy will be sustained through the promising futures of her surviving grandchildren, Caitlyn McK Nix and Conner R Nix; children, John W Nix, Carl R Nix (and Bridget), and Rebekah K Nix; brother, Hugh W Rucker (and Gale); sister-in-law Betty N Lester (and Louis); as well as many other relatives and countless friends. Pallbearers: K L Breeden, Bill Carroll, Rodger E Denison, Chad Murray, Hugh A Rucker, and Sam Wilbur.
Visitation will be at Restland Funeral Home, 9220 Restland Rd, on Sunday, May 17 from 3-5 pm. Funeral services will be at Preston Road Church of Christ, 6409 Preston Rd, on Monday, May 17 at 10:30 am. Private burial at DFW National Cemetery in Dallas. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to New Friends, New Life (214-965-0935), the American Cancer Society (800-227-2345) or VITAS Hospice Charitable Fund (877-800-2951).

Nix, Joe Carl
Born on May 13, 1929, JOE CARL NIX went home to a place prepared especially for him on June 17, 2006. Joe was a respected business and church leader, an astute student and teacher of the Bible, and a true intellect possessing clever wit. He was a gentle man, a loving and beloved son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and friend. After a brief illness, he died peacefully at home surrounded by his family. An accomplished genealogist, few probably know that he was invited to join MENSA and voted "Most Versatile Athlete" in college. As described in his own genealogical record, Joe lived his early childhood days in Ethridge, TN. He graduated from David Lipscomb College in 1949 in Business Administration. He was inducted into the Army in 1950 where he was Sergeant Major of the 973rd Engineer Construction Battalion. After military service, he joined The Equitable Life Assurance Society in New York City as Director of Computer Systems for Group Insurance and Annuities. Quickly becoming an expert in the new technology, Joe was an instrumental part of the team that developed the first databases and computer languages for business applications. In 1966, he joined Frito Lay Company in Dallas, TX as Director of Management Information Systems. Later, he became self-employed as a Realtor and investment manager. While in New York, he was a deacon, an elder and Chairman of the Building Committee for the Manhattan Church of Christ. In Dallas, he was a deacon and elder for the Preston Road Church of Christ and involved with the Preston Road School of Preaching. For ten years, he was a member of the Board of Directors of David Lipscomb College. Joe met Carla Sue Rucker in Manhattan. On June 11, 1960, they were married in the garden of her childhood home. In 1965, they returned to Dallas. As the family grew, lasting memories were created at their Colorado mountain cabin and Five Hearts Farm in east Texas. Joe and Carla actively engaged in their young children's activities and most recently by helping John launch an engraving business, supporting Carl's fire department development efforts, and providing keen insight for Rebekah's educational pursuits. An innovative thinker and wise leader, Joe was committed to church, home, and community. He never stopped mentoring his many admirers of all ages. His parents, Elmer Carl and Eula Belle Nix, and his older brother, H. Eugene Nix, preceded Joe in death. He is survived by his wife, Carla Rucker Nix; children, Rebekah Kincaid Nix and John Wilford Nix of Dallas, TX, and Carl Rucker and Bridget Nix and their children, Caitlyn and Conner Nix of Sulphur Springs, TX; sister, Betty and Louis Lester of LaGrange, GA; brother-in-law, Hugh and Gale Rucker of Dallas, TX; and many other nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Family and friends are invited to remember his 77 years of joyous living during visitation at Restland Funeral Home on Monday, June 19th from 5 to 8 pm. Funeral services will be at Preston Road Church of Christ, 6409 Preston Rd., on Tuesday, June 20th, at 10:00 am. He will be laid to rest with honor at the Dallas-Ft Worth National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, charitable contributions may be made to the Brinker Volunteer Fire Dept, 1415 FM 69 S, Sulphur Springs, TX 75482; Preston Road Church of Christ Building Fund, 6409 Preston Rd, Dallas, TX 75205; or VITAS Innovative Hospice Care, 8585 N Stemmons Fwy, #700, Dallas, TX 75247.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely words lovingly written. I miss them both, too.