by Henry Lane Hull
One summer evening in 1994, while expecting the arrival of the first B.E., my Good Wife and I were dining at Lee’s Restaurant in Kilmarnock. Cindy Abbott was serving us and at the time was expecting her second child.
In the course of the evening I asked Cindy how long she would be out after the child was born. She said she was not returning to the restaurant, but rather was going to begin offering day care for children in her home.
I immediately asked her if she would agree to care for our child. Looking somewhat surprised, she responded affirmatively. Soon thereafter in August her son, Ryan, was born, followed three weeks later by the birth of the first B.E. Another two months passed and we had our first baby-sitting experience in her home. At that time we met her husband, David, who happened to be home for the day, along with her own new baby, Ryan, and his older brother, Jason.
David was a tall man, who made his living by driving a truck on long-distance hauls. He cherished his days at home with Cindy and his boys, and moved seamlessly into the new baby-sitting operation. He clearly loved all children and could relate to the newest infant as if he had known the child for years. He could speak to a child with utter kindness in his voice and he delighted in holding little ones as they fell asleep in his arms.
Fifteen months after that first visit we brought the second B.E. to Cindy, along with her brother. David and she related extremely well. One time when we came to get the children, David was sitting in his recliner with the Younger B.E. asleep on his shoulder. As her clients grew into toddlerhood Cindy and David installed a playground in their front yard, and on his days off David enjoyed taking the children out to play games. Watching him with children one readily could see that he was in his element, leaving his truck and working responsibilities behind him, and delighting in sharing his time with Cindy’s young clients.
As his own children grew, David enjoyed taking the boys on some of his trucking expeditions. Today, these many years later, Ryan drives a truck himself, saying that it was the only job he ever wanted. Indeed, to use the appropriate cliche, in this case the acorn truly did not fall far from the tree.
That happy scenario in David’s life changed radically when he received a diagnosis of MS. His career on the road came to an end and he gradually became homebound. Last week, at the age of 61, David died. He was a person who was admired and appreciated universally. For him all people fit into two categories, i.e., his friends and those he did not know. He could talk to anyone about anything. If the topic was a subject with which he was unfamiliar, he would ask questions, always ready to learn something new.
David knew how to be a good husband, father and friend to folks of every age and generation, all because basically he was a genuinely good person. The two B.E.s were blessed to have him as one of their earliest friends, and my Good Wife and I often have reflected on the good fortune that came into our lives following that conversation with Cindy in Lee’s those many years ago.
David O’Brien Abbott, January 6, 1956 – December 10, 2018. R.I.P.
Each December on the occasion of the final column of the year I like to express my appreciation to our readers for the comments, words of encouragement and oftentimes amplifications of topics I have discussed. To all who read these lines, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! May the latter be filled with blessings and good cheer!
See you in January.