My Uncle Doug

4 09 2005

As I mentioned earlier my uncle has been battling cancer. On Wednesday night he went off to a better place. I’ve had a hard time with this. He fought the good fight but this still sucks. He was only 52. Lived a full life had a great wife and all that but it still sucks.

I sometimes have a hard time speaking my mind when I’m face to face with someone. As you can see here it’s easy to hide and type. Below you will find the letter I wrote Doug and the eulogy I gave to remember him by. He is missed already and will remain so…

Dear Doug,

I’m not one for always being able to say how I’m really feeling. Sometimes it’s easier for me to write things down or in this case type it as I fly to Boston on the first week of an eight week sell in tour.

I think about you everyday and what you must be going thru. I can’t imagine it, sorry, I’m sure some folks are candy coating it but I can’t imagine it.

When Dad called me with your news I was shocked. After a bit I sat with Jen and told her about what we have done together and what you mean to me.

I guess, in a cowardly way, this is my way of telling you.

You weren’t around a lot when I was a little so I only have a few memories.

I remember a time in Cape Breton when I was very young going for a drive in an old econoline van with you and Dad.

You got me some neat gifts when I was a kid, I particularly remember a wrist radio that you got me.

Moving on, you came to stay with us for a bit when you first returned to Truro, you are now entering the “Cool Uncle Doug” years. I remember lending you $10 one night only to have it magically return as a $20 the next morning. You took the time to go find a certain pair of sunglasses for me in Halifax, all in all, you didn’t usually treat me like a little kid.

As I got older, so too were the gifts or experiences you offered. I will never forget driving jeeps, trucks, or sports cars long before I was 16. THANK YOU FOR THAT! Now, you were treating me like an adult. Really cool uncle still but treating me like an adult never the less.

Then along came Debbie. You two were crazy about each other and you still are today I can see it when you are together. I was honored when you asked me to be in your wedding. I know you didn’t have to do that but you did.

On my 19th birthday you were beaming like a proud uncle getting me drinks at the Engine Room when all along I knew you knew I had been there long before that time.

About this time you started taking me fishing as well, again man to man. You tried to get me to go before but I was more interested in watching TV and being a lazy kid. I regret this much like not learning about cars from Dad at the same age. TV wasn’t that great but I didn’t know any better.

Did I forget to mention that you got me my first and second “real” day jobs? Working at Brookfield Toyota made me realize that I needed a bit more education and street smarts to make a buck. But you looked after me out there. I remember you telling me on my first day to slow the hell down and save some work for tomorrow. As it got colder, you got me out of there and hooked me up with Starr. There was my business school! As my friends were off at University trying to figure out what they wanted to be when they grew up I was in St. John’s. Living on an expense account, not making a lot of money, but man you can’t buy the memories I came home from there with.

Anyway time for me to become a computer geek and off to school I went, I’d visit you at the dealership when I came home, bring you leads, you’d pay for them. Maybe give me a bag of watches to sell or something.

Finally, I moved out on my own. We had a good little ritual of the Friday night drink before I went to work at the bar and before Debbie got off work. I’ll never forget the night you gave me that fly fishing gear. It meant the world to me, I still can’t fly fish that well but it meant the World to me. You do remember that you borrowed it back right?

Anyway the proud Uncle was also there the day I got married and more importantly to me he was there the day we buried the baby.

On a lighter note, how can I forget the weekend of the Fourchu reunion? Friday night pissed out of me head singing Amazing Grace at Walter’s with me playing the organ no less or the story session after the dance the next night.

Before I forget about Fourchu how about the SmeltFest? Not a lot of fishing done but you were a trooper. I loved it when you and Jeff had to pull over on the way home on Sunday. Good Times indeed.

So there you silly bastard, now I’m sitting here crying and laughing and the plane’s about to land.

That’s a bit about how much you mean to me.

Take care of yourself if you need or want ANYTHING please let me know!

I was honored to do Doug’s Eulogy and here’s pretty much how it went….

Hi everyone my name is Rob MacCormick and I’m Doug’s nephew. It is an honour to be here today to have the opportunity to speak to you about my Uncle Doug.

Obviously he’s been around my entire life but the story goes back much further than that. Doug grew up in downtown Fourchu, I’m sure you’ve all been there. Being surrounded by water it’s no wonder that Doug grew up loving being on or in the water.

One of his first escapades was when he was not even two years old at a picnic and he tumbled into the water and washed down the river only to be fished out by Grampie. Fearless and Daredevil would be early characteristics for Doug. When he was six years old he flew out of a lobster boat into the harbour in 36 degree water. My great grampie saved him that time by throwing him a buoy to grab on to. I don’t think I could pull that off now.

The water was a source of entertainment for him. He once drove his bicycle off the end of a wharf to see if he could fly. Near the water was dangerous too, Mom heard Doug crying out one day near the harbour during low tide. Help me Louie I’m stuck. Mom helped him but not before the two of them got stuck in the process. They were dirt from head to toe. They both got a licking for that. That’s what siblings do though right? I know that’s how it was in our house.

He left the metropolis of Fourchu for St. Peter’s where he attended high school. He made an impression there as well. The principal in particular once asked him if he had left his brains on the other side of the St. Peter’s canal on his way to school.

When he realized that higher education wasn’t what he was after he went away to work for a bit to return to be a salesman. Some say great salesmen aren’t made they’re born. Doug was a shining example of that.

Yesterday a close family friend brought in a knife that he had gotten from Doug as a promo item over 25 years ago. It stayed in that office that long. There’s an impact isn’t it?

I also heard a story about a guy calling the dealership he was at from Tatamagouche inquiring about a black truck. Doug said we have one right here. This friend noted that there wasn’t one on the lot. Doug pointed to a grey truck on the lot and said that he’d make that one black before the guy left. You know what? He bought that very truck that very day.

It was cool that Doug worked in the car business. I was wheeling around in some pretty cool rides when I was younger.

Dad told a funny story about him last night when he worked at a Ford dealership in Halifax and brought home a truck to get sod with. After hauling bigger and bigger loads all day up Princeton heights the truck had a hard time making it back to Halifax in fact it didn’t make it back under it’s own power at all. Don’t worry he was selling parts then and none of us had that truck.

That was him. Doug worked hard and played harder. A motto that I proudly live by.

How many people have been to Doug & Deb’s place in Guysborough? If you haven’t been there no doubt you’ve seen pictures. He carried those pictures around like a proud poppa. No wonder, the place is amazing. It’s like heaven on Earth. The picture in the bulletin is from there. They loved spending time there.

That brings me to Debbie. I remember when you two first started going out together. How funny it was to see Doug on his very best behavior. No easy feat by any means. Not long after that you were both head over heels in love. The beautiful thing is neither of you ever lost that. You were so good for him and to him. Not many people experience love like that.

I’m going to close with something that Doug told Debbie not long ago on a sad day kind of like this. Deb was crying a bit and he told her to stop her crying before they come to get from the NS in Dartmouth. So, when you’re feeling a little blue after this thinking about Doug. Don’t be! He lived life to the fullest, was loved and gave love and laughter to all of us. And the next time you’re mad don’t curse, growl like he would. When you hear a good fishing story or an old Willie Nelson tune comes on the radio. Think of him then, I know I always will.




One response

20 09 2005

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