|Sent on:||Sunday, October 14, 2012 6:14 PM|
Kyle and Lisa Eckhart have been members of the Austin Tea Party from the beginning and rarely missed a rally. They were my rally and anti-rally buddies. They always had their homemade signs. I remember when Lisa was by my side as we were the only two conservatives on stage at a pro-obamacare rally the Marxists were having on the steps of the capitol and they attempted to tear down my giant Gadsden flag. Lisa was right there in the middle with me. This was a rare occasion when Kyle couldn't make it.
Kyle passed September 17th and Lisa wrote this wonderful memory of their time together and I thought it appropriate to share it with the members. If you would like to sign the guest book online you can do so at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/statesman/obituary.aspx?n=kyle-david-eckhart&pid=159989201&fhid=5109#fbLoggedOut
Kyle was God's perfect gift to me. When I first met Kyle I wasn't a very happy person. He made me happy. At first it was the initial happiness of new found love. We would hang out in the yard on the blanket at twilight watching fireflies and drinking wine. When that got old we'd climb up on the roof and enjoy the view from up there. We're lucky we didn't get hurt. After being ratted out by the neighbors who, I don't think appreciated all the fun we were having, we had a quickie marriage December 10, 1999 at the court house so that we wouldn't be living immorally anymore. Rhonda and Russell were our matron of honor and best man. The judge was smoking Lucky Strikes in his office (In the courthouse where there is no smoking by law) and telling us what a fine couple we appeared to be. Judge Agular was a known alcoholic, who had been arrested in his front yard before for shooting his water hose thinking that it was a snake. He was available for a spur of the moment wedding though, and I still think it was great! We honeymooned in C.C., TX at a very nice condominium that my mother owned.
The funniest thing I remember happening there was, while on our quest for great Sea Food, (Red Lobster won) we went to this one place and ordered a mess of shrimp. Kyle had gone off to the restroom when I started looking around and realizing that the butcher paper on the table meant that they might pour the shrimp out right on the table. I'd seen that before but, did not think Kyle had. I wanted to tell him before they did it. Kyle is a pretty traditional person and the use of plates is right up there with tradition usually. As luck would have it he had just returned as they were pouring the shrimp out. He took a step back and blinked a couple of times (the way he did) and says, "Well, I guess you can just dump it out right there on the table if you want." He inspected his chair for food and sat down. After the waiter left he says to me, "Are we going to tip these guys?"
I was very fortunate to be able to meet his mother before she passed. One of the first things she told Kyle, when I met the family in Christmas of '98, was to watch out for this old calico cat there as, he was prone to bite. She said she knew how Kyle loved the kitties. I was so impressed with his sister Myrlie's beautiful home, and the elevator that she had installed for their mother, who was living there with them. What I great and loving family this is, I thought. Kyle said that they liked me too so, I knew that they were good judges of character to boot! I believe it was the next thanksgiving that Sweet Nan (as they called her) gave me a Cedar Chest. She had said that she was going to sell it and I asked her how much as, I had always wanted one to put keep-sakes in and what not. She ended up giving it to me, and I took it! I didn't just want a cedar chest by then. I wanted the one that belonged to the mother of the man I loved. I was glad to be able to support Kyle when he was grieving his mother's loss shortly thereafter. His siblings expressed to me that it made his mother happy to know that Kyle had finally found someone to share his life with. Me too.
Now, Kyle and I were both a couple of practicing alcoholics. He was trying not to drink when we met but, I put an end to that. It's funny that the whole reason we met was that my good friend Rhonda's (God rest her sole ) ex-husband Russell had finally sobered up and gotten off the streets. He was living in an apartment in her same complex, and she had to drag me over to see it. Kyle was one of two roommates. I only passed through the living room and said, "hi" but, the next week he called me. He didn't have a car so, I told him that he could take the bus over to visit me but, that I had mace and wouldn't hesitate to use it should he start acting funny. He said he thought he could be nice. He was quite impressed with my cat Miranda whom I had taught to do tricks. We talked all night long and agreed on all things social, political and animal. Sometimes you meet someone and they are just like a puzzle piece that fits.
As time wore on and the drinking increased. My health and our ability to live peacefully enough for society decreased. We had started staying up late late at night listening to Coast to Coast on the AM Radio where I learned of the scientific proof of an afterlife. I had also learned from my family that (unbeknown to us) both of my mother's parents were in fact, Jewish. I had a powerful dream about my deceased father which culminated in a sudden real gratitude for all my blessings and I decided that our drinking was over! Kyle was still fighting the TB that he had contracted from his previous living arrangements. Russell's sobriety had not lasted and before Kyle moved out he started bringing homeless people into the apartment. The medicine that the health department had him taking was very strong so, his drinking had really been cut back because his liver just couldn't handle it. That's how he had/has one more day of sobriety than I do even though it was my idea.
He really white knuckled it at first. Many would not have stayed but, God made sure that I had found someone who already knew in his heart that he shouldn't be drinking. Kyle did leave at one point, not to go drink but, because he said that he felt like I was far to critical of him. His description of how I was acting hit too close to home as matching the behavior of another family member with much influence over me, and that is how I knew he was right. He was staying at this yuk place with sober criminals who were washing cars. He called me and asked me to bring him his clean underwear and socks. I brought them to him but, he wanted to take them back home personally and stay with us. I tried to be better about the way I acted but, let me tell you this, nothing will give you an attitude adjustment like finding out that your spouse has inoperable cancer.
Throughout all of the dumb drunk stuff and the TB Kyle had a hard time with work. Like magic though, a year into sobriety, about the time I had gotten my RE license and started a new job, a guy called him up on a two year old application he'd handed in. It was for work at a dental lab. I'm telling you, God had his hand in this the whole way through. He worked for Artistic Ceramics, made friends there, and really started to enjoy his life again. When the economy started failing people stopped getting their teeth fixed so much and he ended up, like any good American, having to make his own job.
He had started doing the landscaping for the rental properties that my mother owns and I manage. He humorously named his little company SIL Landscaping, the SIL standing for Son-in-law. I also had been recruiting him for assistance with make-readies and learned that he really knew a lot about electrical from a class he had taken back in HS. Once Kyle learns something, it's there forever. He was a fantastic painter too. He did everything with the precision used to make a tooth. In fact, when he edged the yards, I think he referred to it as smoothing the margins once. He did beautiful work.
We spent one summer in the blazing hot sun protesting the government take over of 1/6 of our economy through the passage of legislation known as Obamacare. The protests went on to other subjects and, we had a fun time getting to know the good fine people of the Tea Party and attending various protests, functions, and seminars. I remember one time when we were going to protest illegal immigration at the illegal's rally for amnesty, I was rushing him to get into the car and he said, "I have never seen anyone in such an all fire rush to go get their ass kicked in my life!" Those protests never ended up being what we expected, though. They did some really cool Aztec ceremonial dancing in front of the capital gates, and a fun time was had by all.
To say Kyle completed me sounds cliché but it is so true. He could drive me to distraction trying to explain abstract concepts to him but, when it came down to the facts he was the winner hands down. I loved the way sometimes, when someone was trying to get one over on him, trying to say things happened one way, when they really happened another, he would laugh softly, look downward while shaking his head saying no, no, no and then he would annihilate them with their exact words, actions, the time, date, temperature and the barometric pressure.
He was also a great judge of character. Where as I gloss over little inconsistencies in things people say and do, not Kyle. Like I said, he doesn't deal in abstracts so, I may have liked someone just fine but, when they'd leave he could point out to me how they had contradicted themselves or how a little something didn't seem quite right. Stuff I'd heard but, made up excuses for (giving benefit of the doubt) in my mind. He knew a con job right off the bat. It made me feel protected but ultimately taught me to listen to that little thing that goes, "huh?" in my head
His left brained way of living also lent itself to a real knack with historical and geographical facts. His password for various things actually involved the year we walked on the moon. He was pretty knowledgeable on religious matters as well. He often spoke of the Agulars. They were a large Catholic family that really added some spice to his childhood. We were listening to the Catholic Radio station, as we did when the other two AM stations were doing sports or gardening. They were doing a trivia question naming the arch angels. If I remember correctly in the end, the one that was throwing everyone was Lucifer but, darn if Kyle didn't know the names of every one right off the bat.
Every now and then a weird pearl of wisdom would roll off his tongue that came from the crossword puzzles he frequently picked up. He also has about 23 oil lamps. He loved collecting oil lamps. We went through a garage sale stage, where I collected all things copper, and he got oil lamps. That was fun and we got a lot of new junk. I got him some books on the subject of oil lamps which he devoured. Then he could tell you all about the different types of glass and burners used at different times and the things to look for when aging a lamp for value. Around the same time we were reading the works of Edgar Alan Poe to each other before bed. Kyle tried taking up pipe smoking but, it bit his tongue. I guess this was our gothic period.
How it is that such a left brained person could play the guitar as well as he did amazes me. He took lessons from a guy who used to be in the band Deep Purple.
He could play a song just by listening to it. The last couple of years he hadn't picked up the guitar much. The last playing spurt was when they started to play instruments together at the dental lab he worked at for a while there. It was never serious but, I was proud at how the guys raved about Kyle's talented playing.
The talent Kyle had for both facts and music combined itself in the ability to name classical pieces of music. I had started forcing myself to listen to the classical station KMFA because I thought that it would make me a more well rounded person. Once he learned of it, Kyle joined me in this new endeavor. Within about a month I realized that he could name the works being played and tell me if they were composers of the Baroque, Clasical or Romantic era. He really had a love of the arts. He was pretty tickled when my mother asked us to usher the Barber of Siville which was being performed by the Austin Lyric Opera at a church as, the Municipal Auditorium was unfinished. After helping folks to their seats, we got to sit and watch much of the performance. Looking at him during, he was sitting forward in his chair, his eyes were sparkling and just fixed on the performers. Honestly my mother and he should have gone to the Opera with each other instead of her wanting me to go with her. Then everyone would have been happy. All I learned from KMFA was that Kyle really knows music, and that Coral music has nothing to do with the ocean.
With two religions going on in the house we had a lot to celebrate The next neighbors we had driven out (Janice ran into the house) were Jewish converts. They left me with supplies (candlesticks and a woman's yarmulke) and a book on how to do Shabbat each Friday. I printed out the blessings and burned around the edges to make them look old and sacred. I was rolling out my own challah bread and listening to Neal Diamond every Friday. Kyle liked the bread and we would light the candles, pour the grape juice, and break the bread while saying the blessings every Friday. Come Christmas though, look out! Once Kyle got a look at the way the houses on 37th St. did their lights at Christmas there was no stopping him. He wrapped trees, trim, bushes, along the sidewalk. If I'd gotten battery operated ones, he would have lit up the cat. She did have a jingle bell collar. We had a shiny, red, Mylar Christmas tree one year. It was like, WOW! But he didn't stop there. He also got really excited about decorating for other holidays. He put out Halloween lights (orange and black/purple) and he wanted Thanksgiving lights but, I told him they just don't make brown lights. He added every year.
One night we were sitting out on the patio smoking after supper. It was so nice out and I realized that I was truly and deeply happy. Not only was the moment sweet but, I liked who I was. I had achieved a lot of things with Kyle's help and support and for the first time in I don't know how long, maybe ever, I felt comfortable with me. They say when you start abusing a substance that you quit maturing as, you don't have to deal with life on life's terms. If that is true then Kyle and I grew up together over the course of our marriage. I also thought about what many a great philosopher has spoken of that basically the only thing you can count on, is change. I really did become suspect that our happiness was not going to last.
I miss Kyle with all of my heart. He was such a gift to my whole family. By giving me support and strength to tackle some demons, I am a better sister, daughter and property manager. It's funny how Russell's little stint with sobriety really did have a profound affect on our lives as I never would have met Kyle if he had not been trying to do right. - Lisa Eckhart