Tribute By: Moses Blonkanjay Jackson, Author/Educator/Social Advocate
In my thinking thoughts a fortnight ago when I received the death news of TC Gould, for some odd reason, I took a retrospection of the words of the renowned hymnologist Isaac Watt when he penned, “O God our help in ages past; our hope for years to come. Our shelter from the stormy blast and our defense is sure.”
I then pondered, “Can we be sure of a defense from death, when our time comes?”
You see, this nation has arrived at a point where it stands in need of all hands on deck especially its best and brightest including politicians, lawyers and educators. Unfortunately, just as the nation is poised to transition democratically for the first time, “Time” itself has dragged one of its sons away – a reputable man of jurisprudence, an affable social actor, Counselor Theophilus Chapman Gould, as we stand bewildered and wishing we could regress time.
All my life, I have always perceived “Death” as “Time.” I usually fantasize a tall 6 foot slender character that wears a long black cloak, a cape, white gloves and carrying a cross as cane, like Johnny Walker. This character of my imagination, “Time” as I label him, walks briskly up and down, here, there and yonder keeping his eyes meticulously fixed on a scroll in his white gloved hand. Like a mail delivery man, he stops and pauses at all addresses on the list of his scroll and picks up human beings who God has approved to come home and rest in His bosom right near the Compassionate Savior Jesus Christ.
You see, firstly, the content of the list that Time carries is never revealed; secondly, when time takes one of us, he is commanded to walk away without looking back, like the days of Sodom and Gomorrah when God asked Lot et al. to walk away and not look back or else. So Time, carrying out his straight instructions never looks back or flinches amid all the wailing, weeping, rolling and crying that we do when a loved one is suddenly unexpectedly snatched away.
It could me or you on Time’s list, it could be a promising young woman who had stood the test of time and borne excruciating pain and humiliation, and unfortunately taken by Time on the day of her college graduation; or a young man having received his first promotion at a job after many years of diligent service, or a family that just lost two members, Time still bears those on his list away, regardless.
Alas, this time it is an erudite lawyer, proven civil servant, revered patriot, a proven travelling man, mentor of hundreds, and a gregarious character like TC Gould, Time is not looking back but bearing him away as the nation of Liberia stands in awe and bewildered. Oh death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
You will agree that hundreds if not thousands of Liberians, if they had the power, would hang onto the cloak of “Time”, like market women at the Red Light market hanging onto a truck from out of town to purchase goods, and try to roll back its hands begging, “No time, wait a little bit, do not take away TC yet.”
If she had the power, TC’s very affable and active daughter Irene Gould, aka Natural Beauty, would have clung unto the legs of Time, and as he dragged her along his path, she would be shouting, “ My people your come O, let us beg this man let him give my Pa some more time.” But Time would politely but firmly brush her off and simply smile, saying “but I am Time little lass, and I am bearing my own son away.” As Time walks away from Irene, he would burst out into the 5th stanza of Isaac Watt’s Hymn, ‘O God our help in ages past.’
“A thousand ages in Thy sight; Are like an evening gone; Short as the watch that ends the night;
Before the rising sun.”
You would agree if Mama Liberia had her own way, she would mobilize all and sundry actors to appeal to Time to wait until the elections before bearing TC away; the Bar Association would place a “stay order” on the taking of TC, if they could; the people of Bassaland would protest and insist that Time waits until Bassa takes the next County Meet trophy; Alpha Oldtimers Association would kneel appealing, weeping and fervently praying to keep TC, who is the fulcrum of its unity; the National Patriotic Party would present a case that after TC had struggled so hard to resolve a prolonged leadership crisis it was not ripe and fair to take away him away when the harvest is just months away.
In spite of all of the pleas and petitions for Time to give TC Gould commonly known as “football”, some more time, Time would only respond, “I cannot wait for even one tenth of a second, because I am simply carrying out a sacred command, to take and deliver to the Master.” Time would stride away humming the 4th stanza of Isaac Watt’s “O God our help in ages past”:
“Thy Word commands our flesh to dust; Return, ye sons of men; All nations rose from earth at first; And turn to earth again.”
So you see fellow Liberians, we have indeed lost one of our best and brightest; Time has taken one of our precious jewels just at a time when we stand in dire need of quality. We will not see TC Gould anymore; Football, as he is called, will not be in our social gatherings anymore. Who will be the next poor man’s lawyer? Who will now make a simple phone call to get people out of jail?
Howbeit, as we grieve let us also remember to celebrate the life and legacy of TC like people who have faith in God and trust His judgment, because TC loved life and TC lived life well. After all said and done, let us be consoled by Isaac Watt’s assertion that time like an ever-rolling stream usually bears its sons away. They fly, forgotten, as a dream that dies at daybreak. Let us therefore reflect the stanzas:
- O God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home.
- Thy Word commands our flesh to dust, “Return, ye sons of men”:All nations rose from earth at first, And turn to earth again.
- Time, like an ever-rolling stream, Bears all its sons away;They fly, forgotten, as a dream; Dies at the op’ning day.
Finally, goodbye TC. Goodbye, Counselor Theophilus Chapman Gould. Goodbye Football. Rest in peace and may light perpetual shine along your way as you travel that lonely road as a proven traveling man, from labor to rest, to meet the Compassionate Savior, Jesus Christ. And hey traveling man TCG, please do not forget to greet Hiram Abiff, the widow’s son, on my behalf!!
I am simply thinking thoughts