Saturday, January 09, 2016

Uncle Jack: A Man, A Myth, A Legend

Jack Sheldon, my Great Uncle, was laid to rest on December 30, 2015.  He passed away on December 23, 2015.  Even though he looked good the last time I seen him in December, but wasn't actually doing that well.  Even though he wasn't doing well, at 88 years old, he lived a long full life.

I have many memories of Uncle Jack throughout my life.  For instance, he would hand out apples and cookies for Halloween.  As a kid, I wondered why he would hand those things out.  Looking back, that was his signature.  That was classic Uncle Jack.

Other memories is of his curling.  He would go to the Brier (Canadian men's curling championship) every year for a long as he could.  He also played in the farmers league with my Grandpa, his brother.  There were a lot times he would come out to the farm and help or do something to keep busy.  Even when my dad wasn't home, he would come to the farm and fix something.  My dad wasn't home and he climbed up on the combine and started fixing.  I remember I had to go to town to get a belt for it.  Even at that age he wasn't afraid to get right in there and do something if it needed to be done.

Classic Uncle Jack was when he raised his finger in the air.  You knew he was going to say something when he raised his finger.  When he spoke, you listened.  I remember when he stopped by the farm and dad wasn't home, we would talk.  He end up telling me stories about times gone by.  For example, he would tell me about something that happened in 1945.  He would always tell me something from his younger years.  Stories from history, even if it was about something in the countryside for instance, are invaluable.  They are interesting to hear even if they are just those local stories.  That is something I will miss for sure.

One thing we liked to do was bug each other.  If you bugged him, he would bug you right back.  It was all in a joking manner and he knew it.  So we didn't take that too seriously.

The funeral was at St. Alban's in Prince Albert.  It was full of family, friends, and acquaintances of Uncle Jack.  He would have appreciated everybody coming from near and a far to celebrate his life.  My cousin and his nephew John from Manhattan, New York; and his sister and my Great Auntie Irene from California made the trip.  My Auntie Bernice, who is a snowbird in Arizona during the winter made it up to the funeral.  It was nice to see many people I haven't seen in a long time at the funeral.  Even those who couldn't make it that wanted to be sent their condolences.  Talking to people on Facebook, a friend of the family, a lady by the name of Pat said she enjoyed Uncle Jack.  We all did.

During the service, my cousin John was given the honour of giving the eulogy.  Even though he had a couple of days to put it all together, he was able to pull it all together.  Being surrounded by family during the time he was here, there were a lot of stories from not only himself, but from everyone else.  He didn't have to search for words and for things to say.  It says a lot about the person when don't have to search for things to say when giving the eulogy.  It also says something about the person when you have to search for things to say.  One thing that was noted was that it was okay to laugh.  John told stories and antidotes that got us all laughing during various parts of the eulogy.  Sure there was sadness, but it was also okay to laugh.

The internment or burial was held west of Prince Albert at St. Mary's.  It was a small private family internment.  His final resting place was beside my Great Auntie Ora.  Auntie Ora died before I was born.  So I never met her.  It was somber and tears were shed as he was lowered.

The last couple times I saw Uncle Jack in December, you could tell his mind was going.  Even hearing from other people, that was happening.  He would say things to people as if he was talking to someone else.  One story I heard was that he was with his son and my cousin Hugh.  He asked him if he remembered curling together.  He thought he was talking to his brother, my Grandpa.  Stories like
that showed that his mind was going.

Like I said, he lived a full life.  He would have loved to have reminisced about past times.  Laughs were had and tears were shed all in honour of John "Jack" B. Sheldon.  The man, the myth, the legend. R.I.P.!

Oh and thanks to everyone for their condolences.  I truly appreciated it!

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