He held the door for others. Even in high school, when some were telling him it was sexist, he insisted it was the right thing. Because he would do it for anybody. If he saw anyone struggling to carry something, wrangle an awkward package through a door, or finish a task he understood, his instinct was to help.
He did help. A lot.
For years, he mowed the lawn and did chores outside not only for his own house but his neighbors. How many people do you know who actually do that? Maybe a handful. And he was one of them.
He would actually listen. Yes, he would talk, too. He might interrupt with his own ideas but in an age of people not quite hearing what others were saying, Tucker listened carefully. He loved to trade ideas. He could laugh and talk for an hour, two hours, sometimes more. Not everyone says thank you. He always said thanks.
He shoveled snow from the sidewalks for others. He committed to the community chores no one else wanted to do; he knew they needed done. He lent his heart in a real way, with his efforts. He lent his couch to friends.
He volunteered at the Isaac Walton League, of course, and worked there for a couple of decades to make a friendly, fun place to be. He saw neighbors raking leaves and pitched in. He brought treats to the office. And most of this, he didn't do for any other reason than the joy of seeing people smile and laugh.
Just Another Near Death
In the fall of 1980, my brother Dylan and Tucker decided to visit me at University of Maryland. I was living on Patricia Court, off of Metzerott Road. Since I walked everywhere, when they visited, they had to walk with me.
That afternoon, we decided to go bowling. It was a short walk up Metzerott Road and over the one lane bridge to reach route one. From there it was not much more than a block to the bowling alley. I had walked this path when I was a kid.
As we hit route one and turned left, we continued talking, throwing stones, and cracking jokes. Tucker and Dylan got out in front. I pointed out the bowling alley across the street. Tucker turned to finish making his joke and, with his back to traffic, he stepped out into the road.
At the same time, A car going about 55 miles an hour, the only car on the road, changed lanes into his lane. To hit Tucker. Dylan and I could see it clearly. But only Dylan could reach Tucker. He grabbed Tucker hard by the forearm and threw him back onto the sidewalk. An instant later the car barreled by. It never slowed down.
Some people do survive getting hit by a car. But I don’t think that speed was survivable. And Tucker didn’t know it had happened for a couple seconds. He was irritated at Dylan even when he heard and felt the winds of the car passing him by just a foot away.
“What the hell, man?“ His eyes widened in realization. “Oh, that was close!"