A Tribute To Uncle Ronald

This is a tribute to the memory of Ronald Moore

Ronald and my father have been friends since their boyhood. My father has always told stories about the good times they shared. They spent a lot of time fishing together. There is also a story about how they used to float the river in a leaky wooden boat they had salvaged from the river bottom and patched with tar. The tar was very sticky and messy and they would always come home from a day on the water covered in tar!

I have known Ronald for as long as I can remember. In fact, for as long as I can remember, I have known him as “Uncle Ronald”. More importantly, I have always thought of him as Uncle Ronald.

As a young boy, I have memories of spending time with him and my father. These are fond memories. Uncle Ronald was always very warm and kind. Uncle Ronald always enjoyed a good laugh. I’ll always remember the way he would smile just before he would laugh. He had a great sense of humor – a sense of humor that was never mean spirited or at the expense of others.

As I was growing up, Uncle Ronald would come to visit us. Since we lived on a lake, a popular activity was to go fishing. I have great memories of being out in the boat with my father, my brother and Uncle Ronald. I always enjoyed being able to be a part of their activities.

I have always enjoyed spending time with Uncle Ronald. Although he was not a man of many words, he was always very warm and friendly. He was very laid back and easy to be around. He also knew a lot about fishing. I did a lot of fishing in my youth, and most of what I learned about fishing came from the time I spent fishing with my father and Uncle Ronald.

I also have memories of Uncle Ronald coming to visit us in the fall. Uncle Ronald lived about an hour’s drive from us, and every fall, he would hunt not far from where we lived. After a day of hunting, he would stop by for a visit, often staying for supper. I always enjoyed listening to him tell about his day in the woods.

Like most hunters, more often than not, he would come out of the woods empty-handed. But hunting isn’t soley about taking game. It is about being in nature and drinking in the peace and the solitude. Sometimes we take something and sometimes we don’t. If we learn something about nature, or if we experience nature’s beauty, we will never come out of the forest empty-handed. I have learned this for myself, and I have heard this expressed by many people in many ways. But I heard it first from Uncle Ronald.

Uncle Ronald understood the sense of peace a person can experience during a moment of solitude in the forest. I believe this is a big part of who Uncle Ronald was. A big part of how kind, warm and gentle he was. Perhaps that is a big part of why I have always been so fond of Uncle Ronald.

Several years ago, my father and I went fishing with Uncle Ronald. We had a great time, and Uncle Ronald caught most of the fish!

Now, I must confess that I am a part of what Uncle Ronald would consider that “Newfangled generation of hunter and anglers”. Yes, I own a lot of expensive, high tech gadgets and gizmos and all of the latest and greatest fishing and hunting gear. I indulge in this for several reasons. Because I love hunting and fishing, because the technology exists, and perhaps mostly to compensate for what I lack in skill and experience.

Uncle Ronald, on the other hand was from the “Old School” of hunting and fishing. Instead of expensive high tech camouflage, he wore black and red wool and flannel.

His fishing rods were mostly odd items he had salvaged from someone’s garbage and brought back to life with a few hose clamps and some electrical tape. He had a half dozen fishing lures in a little canvas bag.

Uncle Ronald was very, very handy. He had an old pickup truck with a home made wooden rack. Hanging in his garage above his truck was a canoe suspended by a series of ropes and pulleys that he would lower at will onto the home made rack when he felt like going out for a little fishing. He had also created a cleverly designed rack to hold his fishing rods.

Given the disparity in our gear and in our approach, would you care to guess who was the better hunter and angler? Yes, I have groveled at the feet of the master.

Uncle Ronald didn’t need to spend a lot of money on gadgets and expensive gear. He had a lifetime of trial and error and observation in his brain that were more useful and practical than anything you can buy in a store.

Another more recent memory of Uncle Ronald is of a time I walked over to say hi to him as he was trimming some shrubs in his yard. We exchanged greetings, and as I went to shake his hand, he stopped me. He warned me that there was a hornet’s nest in the shrubbery that stood between us and he asked me to be careful. I took care not to get too close to the hornets nest, and we visited for quite a while. We talked about how things were going in each of our lives, but mostly we talked about fishing and hunting, a passion we shared.

Afterwards, I reflected on our visit, and I smiled as it occurred to me that the situation with the hornet’s nest really said a lot about who Uncle Ronald was and what he was about. First of all, he knew enough about nature to not go blindly poking and slashing into a hornet’s nest. He also knew what he could and couldn’t get away with. He was only a foot or two from the hornet’s nest. He knew that as long as he worked delicately, he could do what he needed to do in a way that didn’t make the hornets feel threatened. That was part of his gentle way, and part of his gentle charm.

The last contact I had with Uncle Ronald was a few months ago. I was speaking to my father on the telephone and he told me that Uncle Ronald was there visiting. I asked my father to say hi to Uncle Ronald, and I heard Uncle Ronald say hi back. My father told me that he had just been showing Uncle Ronald my new boat. I asked my father to tell Uncle Ronald that we must go fishing in it next summer. I heard Uncle Ronald say that He’d like that very much. I was very much looking forward to a day of fishing with Uncle Ronald.

Today, I am deeply saddened to learn that Uncle Ronald has left us. And yes, it hurts when we lose someone we care about. Someone with so many qualities. Someone so warm, so kind and so gentle. Someone who was always modest, humble and humorous. Never boastful, aggressive or mean. Someone who will never know how much I valued and appreciated him. And I am sure that I am not alone.

I am deeply saddened by the loss, but I am very, very grateful that Uncle Ronald was a part of my life.  My only regret is that we didn’t spend more time together.

Uncle Ronald will be in my prayers. I pray that his soul is at peace and that wherever he is, there is a place for him to hunt, fish and spend time in nature.

I will also think of Uncle Ronald as I hunt, fish and spend time in nature. I think he would have liked it that way.

Mike Lapierre