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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Monday, November 16, 2009

In Memoriam

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)

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At 9:43 a.m., Blogger Clare said...

Sending loving thoughts to you, Phillip, and June, and all of David's family.

You wrote a very nice tribute.

At 9:52 a.m., Anonymous daffy said...

Your words here are filled with respect. I am so sorry for your loss. I'm sure the two of you shared more than a few good stories of pastimes.
My thoughts are with you all.

At 11:49 a.m., Blogger KGMom said...

Oh, Philip--I am both saddened and relieved to learn of Dave's death.
I marvel at your generosity, but also know you have been blessed by this acquaintance.
I trust things will work out for June--and that Dave's family doesn't hold her at arm's length. A wife who comes into a man's life, after he was married for 60 years, is a brave soul indeed.

How fitting for you to use that passage from Thanatopsis--it is one of the few poem pieces I have memorized. And I like the sentiment very well.

At 1:17 p.m., Blogger Berni said...

Lovely tribute to a friend.

At 2:05 p.m., Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Since you mentioned him frequently, it was good for you post this memorial.

At 3:11 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

I'm sure that the years that David spent with you were very special to him, as well as to you. You were there when he was in need ... and that's a wonderful thing.

At 6:59 p.m., Blogger Gretchen said...

I'm sorry for your loss. Your friend sounds like one I would have been honored to know.

At 6:59 p.m., Blogger Loretta said...

I've wondered often how he was doing. My thoughts are with you and June. I think you were both blessed to know each other. I believe I would have liked him very much.

At 7:42 p.m., Blogger Cathy said...

Hello Phillip
Its sad to lose our friends but I'm sure his memory will linger each time you pass the 'Libary' door. Will June continue to stay with you or do you think she may have other plans?
Take care

At 11:27 p.m., Blogger Berni said...

Hi Phil, I didn't feel the earthquake but others in the village did. It was apparently felt all over the northwest. I was just waking up at that time so it passed me by.

At 8:42 a.m., Blogger possum said...

What a loving tribute. I am sorry for your loss, but I know you both benefitted from the crossing of your lives.

At 9:19 a.m., Blogger amelia said...

Some lovely words for an old friend.
We all have to go and it sounds as if David had a lot of health problems and it was his time. I hope June is feeling not too bad. What will she do now?

At 9:30 a.m., Blogger Peggy said...

Beautiful post for such a special friend. He was very blessed to have a friend in you.

At 4:35 p.m., Blogger John and Carol said...

You have our sympathy. It is sad when old friends die. We used to manage several apartment buildings and ended up caring for and about a couple of old cowboys, as well as some widows. We were sad when they died.

At 10:09 a.m., Blogger Sissy said...

A beautiful tribute, Phillip. I'm so sorry for your loss. At our age, sadness comes too often with each loss of ones we love, though we also feel relief that our loved one is no longer suffering. I have no doubt that David is happy now and in good hands.

My condolence to you and June and all David's family. May you all find solace soon.

At 7:58 a.m., Blogger judie said...

I think, living with you, he wrapped the drapery of his couch around himself daily, and felt pleasant and safe and warm in his waning years. I think you just have that kind of good-heartd affect on people. I feel sadness about your friend, but I'm pretty sure he was happy while he was there in your "library" of love. This was a lovely tribute. xoxo

At 7:48 p.m., Blogger edifice rex said...

That was a lovely tribute; my sincere condolences to you.

At 11:17 p.m., Blogger Tom said...

Hello Philip
I was very saddened to read this ... a week late as well.
I think you showed the picture before ... I to would have found Dave interesting and would liked to have heard his tales of old... I hope all is as well as can be my friend


At 9:20 p.m., Blogger Climenheise said...

I'm glad to have seen this memorial, however long after the fact. Thanks for telling us about David.

At 8:54 p.m., Blogger Janet said...

I'm sorry to hear this - I know at times there were difficulties, but it's always hard to say goodbye.

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