Friday, May 25, 2007

The Eulogy- The words I said.

Carl and Roland

Roland William Tucker

We all can say that Roland was a modest and quiet man. He loved a great joke, and he had a wonderful sense of humour, and he was a man who smiled with his eyes.

If you worked with him you would say he was a great man, a fair man, and never harsh. But he also never pretended everything was ok with work output or quality if it wasn’t. He would be gracious when he had to point out someone’s work needed attention or his guys’ needed to focus more on the task. And he did it so respectfully for 38 years, and all who worked with him and under him were happy to do their best.

They followed by example and respected him greatly. And they all say his was so talented. The best lead hand, the best brake operator and such a wonderful machinist. When it came to anything mechanical -this man was an artist, and instinctive. And he was quiet, and he was funny, and he made the guys feel like they mattered.

Every man who knew him would agree he respected the men in his life so much. And he made the guys feel so welcome. His Brothers and his Son, Son-in-laws, Brother-in-laws and Nephews were all treated the same, and felt like they were accepted into Roland’s brotherhood. And you knew you were in the brotherhood if you were called Buddy, or Sonny Boy, and you got the secret handshake.

Many thought they were the only ones who were given it, yet the story is told over and over by many folks who did it with him.

So today we are gonna do that handshake one last time. As a tribute to Roland. Take your right hand and prepare to shake your neighbours hand. Dont do it yet until I count to three. When you shake, you each scratch the palm of your shake mate with these two fingers.

Ready?....ok lets try the shake. And we will say, “To Roland” as we shake. On the count of three: TO ROLAND!

All the women saw a man who loved to see his wife and daughter happy, and would be on the sidelines cheering them on, and supporting them for whatever they wanted to do or try. He really enjoyed living vicariously through his family. A really balanced and supportive way to be, to never hold anyone back from their dreams.

A man who enjoyed simplicity.

Roland William Tucker was born June 3rd 1950. He was 56 years old when his life was taken away from us so suddenly.

Alma says it is not for us to question when a loved one dies, but to accept when it is your time to go, it is your time.

We are much to small to understand the higher purpose of it all.

When Roland was about 12 his family moved to settle in Ontario.

Those were quite adventurous times. Roland was the middle child of three Sons born to Lillian and Bill Tucker. Clyde the oldest, then Roland and followed by Carl. After Bill got good work in Ontario he made a quick trip back to Newfoundland to fetch the family.

Most of you know Roland as modest and unassuming man...but if you had of asked his Dad if he was quiet on that trip, he would have looked at you funny as he rubbed the big lump upon his head.

Well it seems that Clyde and his sidekick Roland got to pingin' rocks out the side window of the Sedan. Laughin' and carrying on as they watched the chunks of stone skipping off the banks of the highway.

But as all fun has it, misfortune would strike, and one rock with a mind of its own stuck the window and ricocheted off the glass right into their Father’s head.

There are three versions of who actually was at fault that day. Three versions from those three innocent lads in the back seat. But Bill sure knew one thing... Pull over: and each culprit was equidistant to one swooping back swing of Father’s arm. SMACK! Of course, Carl was 5 at the time and he found a great source of entertainment watching his brothers get in trouble all the time. Needless to say Clyde and Roland made it pretty clear to Carl which behaviors would get their Dad riled, so Carl learn to just not do them.

Even in those days when Roland was a kid it was easy to see what kind of soul he was. He found his greatest comfort around home and family.

He was a home-body and never went in for frivolity.

And he was stubborn. If Roland got in his mind that he wanted to do something, there was no changing his mind.

This became really noticeable when he was adamant about not returning to school and wanting to go out to work at a young age.

After a few odd jobs Roland embarked upon his career at Viral Metal at the age of 17 in 1966.

And with that job came his desire for a nice car. So he purchased his first mean machine. And this quiet modest man who seemed so interested in taking his grand ole time all these recent years actually hid the real speed demon within (only from the older folks in his life). Guys like Freeman can attest to Roland's love of fast cars, speeding and tailgating...."just cuz"

When Roland was 16 he met this lovely woman named Alma who arrived with her Brother David and their Dad, from Newfoundland, to find work. They spent some time at Roland’s Parents home while they got themselves settled.

By age 18 Roland was compelling everyone to prepare for a July 20th, 1968 wedding to Alma. Once he decided to Marry, he wanted it done quick, with as little fuss as possible. And there was no swayin' the man once that decision was made. Again, Once Roland put his mind to something he would be determined to see it through, and only when the goal was met would he be satisfied.

In April, 1969 Roland and Alma had their first child Joanne, and in March, 1975 they had their Son Robert. Their children were their pride and joy. With parenting, Roland faced uncertainty, fear and challenges to being a new Dad, and never hesitated to ask for help or advice from his Parents, in his new world of parenting.

As time progressed Roland and Alma bought their first home in Oshawa. They were involved in a great Parish out there and made some great friends while living in the neighbourhood.

Guys like Jim Tilly will attest to Roland being the biggest practical joker. You could compare Jim and Roland to the characters of 'Kenny vs Spenny'. Two guys in their thirties on journey of oneupmanship. The competition to see who could pull the wildest prank.

After years of prank abuse from getting his steering wheel greased, or finding his bed short sheeted, or coming home from holidays to find dried split peas covering their sheets after an exhausting trip, Jim thought he finally got the better plan.

One Christmas Roland put out a great wreath on the door, and had some really nice lights outside the house. Jim took the wreath in secret and put it on his own front door for a lark. And over the week the Christmas light bulbs went missing one or two at a time.

One day when they were visiting Roland, Roland was carrying on about how the neighbourhood was goin' to pot. Someone had stole his wreath and wrecked his lights. Jim never swayed. He consoled his buddy. Soon it was time for Roland and Alma to come over to Jim's. They walked over for their visit commenting on Jim’s lovely wreath.

I can imagine Roland saying something like, “Yes Buddy, that’s some lovely wreath, alot like the one we had got up. You better be careful cuz yours might be next!”

For some reason, that night Roland never clued in that lovely wreath was actually his, which was even more funny.

There came a time when Roland and Alma decided to look for a larger home with a bigger yard. They found the lovely home they have today in West Rouge. As their children grew up exciting times evolved. Roland and Alma’s daughter Joanne was the first Tucker grandchild to ever go to College, and Roland was so proud and happy to be able to send her. He supported her every step of the way. He built her a little room for her to start her fashion design business and outfitted her with all her needs to flourish with. Roland and Alma have been so very proud of her talent and accomplishments.

Soon, Robert would grow up and follow with an apprenticeship in auto mechanics trade. Roland loved to be able ponder mechanical problems with Robert and watch Robert’s talents grow until Robert became a great mechanic, as Roland had done with Alma’s little brother Freeman, all the years before.

There was a very profound moment in Roland’s life though. Something that drew up a blessed light from within this man, for which he glowed. It became a time where we all saw the child in him surface and shine over him, and there was a joy so dense within him that there were no words to describe it. Roland could only show everyone with his actions. On the day when Alyssa, his first grandchild came into this world, Roland was filled with another love which radiated out of every pour.

There is a peace that comes to a man when he has grandchildren. It is his chance to give his grandchildren his soul. Older and wiser, and less worried about providing and shuffling work and home, the man can now dedicate so much energy to being a grandfather. There was just no way to do that logistically in the years before: just as a father.

And when Joanne had Emily, Her little one set Roland up to see for himself both of his children were settled, and it was now his job to just enjoy these lovely grandchildren. And know he never had to worry about his own kids, for they were all grown up.

Roland did not need much in his life to feel satisfied. All he wanted was to enjoy his wife’s company, and he had that. A nice home to putter around in, and he had that. And to see his children successful and happy, and he had that. He was a man that did his job well, for the sake of a job well done, and he was satisfied with that.

Others may not have understood why he wasn’t outgoing, or why he didn’t aspire to be the life of the party, or why he wasn’t compelled to visit folks all the time..... and he never felt the need to explain himself for that. He was truly happy and one of the most satisfied people we all know. He was a man with true peace.

A measure of a man’s accomplishments is really not how many trophies are on his mantle or how many times he went to Florida, or how many badges on his sleeve or how many times he got new carpet, or whether he was promoted alot at work.

It really is: the effect his truth had on his fellow man, and when he passed was he truly happy and truly satisfied? By the numbers of people at the visitation last night and the services today it is proof a quiet man effects many people, even when he thinks he is really invisible.

Sometimes we lose site of what it is like to be truly happy. Perhaps it is because our expectations in life are way too high, and the kind of happiness we imagine we are striving for is really a fantasy we will never attain, and we travel too tough a road to try to attain it, yet never do.

If we must take away a lesson from Roland’s life, his ethics, and his love ..we have to take this: He set simple, attainable goals. He never expected ANYTHING, and he was happy to do his work well, be in the presence of his wife, and to ensure his children were happy, and to be comforted by home life, and he expressed true joy from being a grandparent.. because he could see home and family solid and without change every day, he was truly satisfied. He is proof positive that happiness is what YOU make it and you must be the one to feed it and sustain it. And if you suddenly pass away.... living by this example would ensure you died in the emotional presence you always dreamed of.


Caledonia said...

That was wonderful! You really did him proud. It made me cry because I was thinking about my Grandma.

RennyBA said...

This is the greatest meme of a man I've ever red. I must admit I got a tear in my eye when reading, but also a smile on my face as you shared all this good memory from a happy and lively man. At this time it's good to remember all the good things and it must be lovely to have some many of them!