David LaChapelle 1923-2009
My friend and tenant, David, died today. His body decided it was time his Spirit join the stream of memory of the ages. He lived with several ailments but his systems just slowly shut down.
David taking a rest from helping me do the firewood in 2008
David came to live with me when he asked his new wife, my friend June, if I might consider them moving in with me. He wanted one more time to live on a farm in the country in a house. I am pleased that I managed to adjust my life enough to accomadate him and June. The only real adjustment was giving up my library for him to use; it being on the ground floor. There was an irony in this as Dave was illiterate, like so many of the rural French Canadian men of his generation. I tried to interest him in a couple of books with wonderful pictures and he showed no interest. His life had been that of a doer and not a thinker.
I think David enjoyed the few years he live with me. He shared his room with his two little dogs and always took an interest in the few livestock animals I had, particularly the pigs. He was forever watching them and expressing concern for things they may be doing.
He and June had been neighbours in a "geared to income" garden apartment. June came to look after him. He asked her to marry him. It came to be an arrangement that was beneficial to both. I had the pleasure of performing the wedding at my farm down my the cabin on the river.
David had been married to his first wife for over 60 years. They had 10 children. (not uncommon for a French Canadian country couples of his generation)
David was an oldtimer who lived around here all his life. He was born in Crystal Falls, downstream from here on the Sturgeon River. Briefly, he even lived and worked here in River Valley. He worked in the Bush, the mills, trucking, wherever the work was. He also had a farm property in Verner, Ontario, south of here, upon which he raised and fed his family.
I enjoyed David's company. He was quite quiet and seemed to like wrestling on the TV more than anything else. He was always interesting to me when he spoke of the old days and what life was like a couple of generations ago. I was an eager listener, being a bit of a local history buff.
I shall miss him. I hate to see elders like him leave us, for they always have more to teach us.
For a man, who only ever knew work taking care of his family , he is now at rest and peace.
So live, that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan, which moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
(Last verse of Thanatopsis, William Cullen Bryant)