Sunday, January 09, 2011

Dick Wray's Tower and Towering Life

We got the phone call a few miles east of Marathon, just after we'd watched a couple of tumbleweeds blow across the highway and after we'd stashed a half dozen tumbleweeds in the back of the Subaru. We were laughing and loving the notion of tumbleweeds cavorting down the open road.
And then my iPhone rang. The call was coming from Beth's phone and it was CeCe. Our connection was bad and I heard CeCe say that Dick died and that it had been magical.
A magical time, she repeated, because Dick Wray died early Sunday morning in the middle of a thunder storm. Dick Wray died in a clap of thunder after a thunderous life. Fitting. Perfect. That man was strong, even in death. Beth was there to say, "I love you," in their little piece of heaven.
Last week, I heard Beth say to Dick, "You promised a great ride and you gave me a greater one than I could have imagined." So he did.
Dick's life and his paintings jump right out and grab you. Both loaded with high octane energy, humor and a sly take on life itself.
Dick completed the civic art design for the four story elevator tower for 1002 Washington Avenue. We've got his maquette, his drawings, his in-put on materials and installation. But he's not going to be around to see this enormous piece fabricated or installed. Now will he be able to simply revel in the finished work. But Houston will have a Dick Wray. That piece of work will be 'one tall tower'. Tower, phallus, whatever. It'll be Dick Wray.
As for tumbleweeds? Aren't we all a lot like them? Just tumbling down a highway and sooner or later, we each take that last tumble? And maybe some of us will leave a tower behind?

3 comments:

Kate said...

Beautifully said.

Sharon said...

I won't leave a tower behind. I can aspire to leave something behind that has meaning though I don't know what that will be.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing such a personal moment so perfectly.
It's probably been 30 years since I last saw Dick but it feels like yesterday.
Being with Dick as a 20 year old was like being in a constant thunderstorm. Exciting, fun, charged with energy... and rather dangerous with a guy who gathered and threw social lightning bolts like a shaggy-haired,gap-toothed Zeus.
I learned more about art and life from Dick than anyone else on this fast flipping planet and I'll always thank him for showing me a man can be a funny, complex, talented a-hole and still be loveable.
J.L.