Tales from Loren Beachy
Affable Abe

Tales from Loren BeachyHe strolls through the creaky farmhouse door happily yodeling, a favorite hobby of his, and pauses long enough to boom a pleasant "good morning" to his mother who is busily preparing breakfast. The hour is only 6 o’clock, but Affable Abe has been out of bed and outside in the cold of a January morning long enough to feel refreshed and on top of his game. The knowledge of an approaching after-breakfast nap greatly helps Abe’s cheerfulness as well. Abe’s mother chirps back a happy “good morning” as she cracks another egg into the skillet. She shakes her head in amazement at how someone who has such a hard time getting out of bed can be so cheerful two hours later.

Waking Affable Abe from his slumber is like trying to breathe life into a cement block. Alarm clocks are useless. They wake everyone else in the top story of the house before they make a dent in Abe’s hibernation, even though he is snoring away only a few feet from it. So the job falls to Abe’s father and sisters who have learned a few tricks from frustrating experience. If the waker can get the wakee on his feet, the battle is usually won. Abe’s formidable willpower, having been turned away from keeping him in bed, is now employed to keep him away from the warm sheets and soft pillow. But now Abe is cheerful, almost bubbly, as he catches a whiff of bacon frying. This is the Able most people know, a happy-go-lucky, jovial, affable Abe.

Abe’s relaxed demeanor and slow way of speaking often mask a keen wit underneath. Having the last word is difficult when verbally jousting with Affable Abe. Even when he has barely crawled out of bed with his eyes three-quarters shut and looking seven-eighths dead, Abe will still sometimes utter an uncannily apt statement that amuses listeners. Amuses them in spite of their frustration at trying to remove Abe from his treasured bed.

Affable Abe at a social gathering is like a boulder in the middle of a trampoline. People just naturally gravitate to him. A boulder is what comes to mind when looking at Abe too. He stands an inch shy of six feet and is built somewhat like a brick house. Broad meaty shoulders extend to muscular arms and thick, calloused hands. Years of living and laboring on the large dairy farm his father owns have led to formidable strength. His nature, however, is as gentle as a kitten. Many times the mood of a roomful of people will be noticeably brightened by the presence of Affable Abe. His immense smiles, jolly moods, hearty belly laughs and fun teasing often bring quick smiles to crowds great and small.

Amish BuggyWaves of bonhomie roll off Abe as he crawls off his buggy at the Sunday evening hymn singing. “Hey Johnny!” Abe calls to a chum across the way, “How’d that trip go?”

“Oh, alright, I made it back anyway,” Johnny yells back, an impromptu grin spreading across his face. (Faces around Affable Abe tend to do that.) “Did you find any new prospects?” Abe inquires in a booming voice, still unhitching his horse as he erupts into a hearty laugh at the expression on Johnny’s face. Johnny does not ask, but he knows what Abe means by “prospects”. Johnny shakes his head, still grinning as he heads for the barn with his steed.

“Why, do you want some addresses?” he fires back over his shoulder. Abe again throws back his head and laughs for a few seconds before answering, “Well sure, I’m always on the lookout for nice girls!”

An easy-going nature, and a deep fondness for sleep, causes him to habitually run a little bit behind schedule. In spite of this, Affable Abe is almost universally liked. He realizes and employs the power of a big smile and calls each person he meets by that person’s own name.  Abe’s ability and efforts to make a person feel “like somebody important” win him countless friends and admirers. Indeed, Abe’s entire family has the knack. One acquaintance remarked, “They just make you feel special”.

From meeting Abe, a new acquaintance would never guess at the struggles in his past. Affable Abe has had his share of trials. But the fires of adversity, instead of consuming Abe, have strengthened him. As gold is purified by going through a flame, so Abe has had his faith and trust in God deepened and strengthened by the dark days he has experienced. There were days when the outlook was bleak indeed, but by clinging to the hand of God, Abe was delivered from the worst of his troubles. Now he considers himself a better person because of all the bad times. Affable Abe is deeply thankful to a God who can take seeming adversity and turn it into a blessing.

Yes, Abe enjoys cheering people with humor, but he has also remarked that one of his greatest satisfactions is encouraging people who need it. His troubles in the past assist him in helping others through their own bad times. He may have no college degree, no high-paying job, and no beautiful wife, but he is probably more universally loved and happier than many who do. He knows that the priceless treasure of peace with God is worth infinitely more than any of these.

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