Sunday, February 19, 2012

Back Story: The loss of a neighbor

I learned just last night of the passing of Hugh Livingston this past Tuesday. Huey was our next door neighbor - and he was a good one. Huey was there to greet us the day we moved into our house on Allen Street ten years ago. He was a well-known fixture in town and was still serving as the crossing guard at Mills Lawn School, after having retired from the YSPD.

Back in those days, the school bus used to stop in front of his house and the kids would wait in his driveway. One morning, shortly after we moved in, Huey returned from Mills Lawn to find our son standing in his driveway. He had missed the bus. So Huey drove him to school. That was the start of a quirky relationship that lasted until Huey got sick last year and we didn't see him out-and-about anymore. Huey thought Kalson was a character. The feeling was mutual. He once gave Kalson an old set of electric trains that had been gathering dust in his house. Sometimes, when the hens were producing more than we could consume, we would send Kalson over with a dozen eggs, knowing Huey would appreciate the visit even more than the eggs.

Huey was a great kibitzer. He loved to play sidewalk superintendent for any project that might be going on in our front yard. Often guys doing work for us had grown up in town and remembered when Huey was on the force. More than one of them told me that they'd had run-ins with him when they were younger and that he had always treated the situation with reason and compassion, i.e. they were sent home with a warning not to do it again.

"The world could use more cops like Hugh Livingston," one of them once told me.

The world could use more neighbors like Hugh Livingston. He will be missed.


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