Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • August-September 2022 • Circulation 5000

To David Littlefeather, With Love and Thanks

A tribute to a beloved McCauley community member.

David Littlefeather. File Photo

Hi David, it’s me, Kathryn. I was just sitting at a table in Spinelli’s, your favourite place for an “American-cano” as you called it. The staff members there have been asking after you, and were very sad to hear of your sudden passing in early December. I remember the last time I saw you there: it was a sunny winter day, and you were sitting outside on the bench, as you liked to do. You were so excited to see me that you pointed me out to the fellow sitting next to you, and I felt like a celebrity! Thank you for making me feel so valued, so important.

Your enthusiasm for certain things was contagious. You loved to share what you bought on your monthly payday trips to Walmart: your new sweatpants or sneakers, or the Christmas presents that you saved up for over the course of the year and would place under your tree months in advance.

I know there are many people who could tell me more about other things that you loved, but here are some of the things I know: you loved your early morning coffee at Spinelli’s; you loved shopping at Walmart on paydays; you loved Pepsi (and would deliver a bottle to your neighbours Brenda and Umayaz whenever you could), you loved watching I Love Lucy and The Flintstones on your DVD player, you loved attending Sacred Heart Church, you loved getting a free t-shirt and other cool stuff when you volunteered at events; you loved walking your two block circuit between McCauley Apartments, the Italian Centre, and Spinelli’s, the corner bench by Sacred Heart Church, and sometimes as far as Stadium Mini Mart.

You loved watching the world go by, seeing the people who knew you, going to visit the people who knew you, door-to-door, until sometimes it made some of us annoyed! You loved the Heart of the City Music Festival, and the McCauley Clean Up, and Boyle McCauley News, and other activities that happened in your neighbourhood.

I first knew you as David Grant. Long ago, you would hang out at Bissell Centre, my first job in the inner city. When I started at McCauley Apartments, there you were! It was a joyful reunion, and even though it was your birthday – November 1st – you went to Zocalo and bought me a little plant as a welcome gift. You had changed your name to David Littlefeather. As you told the story to me: you were at a gathering and an Elder saw you, pointed right at you, and said, “You! Your name is Little Feather,” and then you went about the process of changing your name, of claiming that name as your own.

I miss you David. Sometimes it was hard, and you would do something that was grumpy or inappropriate or annoying, and we would have a little conflict, and you would snap at me. After 10 minutes or so, you would return and say “I’m sorry,” and you’d giggle, and I’d giggle back, and all would be well again. This time of COVID was really hard for you. You lost many things. You lost your hangouts, especially the McCauley office, and then Sacred Heart had a fire and you couldn’t go there, and then Spinelli’s was closed for a long time. You even lost your dog – what a painful time that was. Changes were very hard for you. It was hard to say goodbye, and you grieved every little loss, getting tearful whenever someone left or something changed.

It breaks my heart that you died alone, David. I wish that we could have accompanied you on your final journey. I want you to know that you are so missed, that you were loved. You were such a familiar face around these two or so blocks of Little Italy, that everyone there notices your absence. I want you to know that we will not forget you, that your life was not in vain, and that you were an essential part of our community.

We are going to dedicate the bench at the back of McCauley Apartments to you, David. It will be known as “David’s bench.” Whenever someone sits there, they will see your name and remember you, or ask about you, and all of us who knew you will remember and tell them about David Littlefeather, our neighbourhood friend.

It is my honour to share something about you here. There are so many others who knew you, who knew other parts of your story. We will not forget. We will share your story. Your family was not a key part of your life, and they have not been there for you in your death. I want you to know that even if your family doesn’t come to claim you, we claim you. We will pray over you, and for you. We will remember you and honour you.

Thank you David, for sharing your life with us. For being our friend, our neighbour, our observer, our enthusiast, our town crier, our colourful grump, our beloved little feather. Peace be with you.

Kathryn is the Manager of Community Development, Housing & Mental Health Division, with e4c.

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