Human Condition: Lifelong friend proves it’s a small world after all _lowres


Some people are in and out of our lives for years and years. Kenny was one such person.

Kenny was only 18 years old when I met him while we were at boot camp for the U.S. Air Force in San Antonio. I found out he was from California, and this was his first time out of the state.

We were able to talk to each other only a few times in basic training, but afterward we both were stationed at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi. We ended up in the same squadron and on the same school schedule.

On the weekends, I would go to Baton Rouge to see my future wife. On some of those occasions, I would bring some fellow airmen with me and get them dates.

My grandfather lived on Lake Verret, and I would visit him on some of my weekend trips. I brought Kenny on one such trip.

We went to Pierre Part to the Valentine Inn for a dance. That is where he met his future wife, Lucy.

Lucy had muscular dystrophy and was confined to a wheelchair. It must have been love at first sight because every chance Kenny got after he met Lucy, he went to see her.

After school, Kenny and I were stationed at different bases and lost contact with each other.

I re-enlisted 3½ years later, and was again stationed at Keesler Air Force Base.

On the Saturday morning I went to the office where I was to re-enlist, who did I see? Kenny.

He had married Lucy, and she had given him two children and lived, which was a record at the time for someone who had muscular dystrophy. We renewed our friendship.

He was stationed at a south Louisiana radar site, but he was living in Pierre Part. When I first met Kenny, he did not know what a crawfish was. Now, in just 3½ short years, his accent sounded like he was born and raised in Pierre Part.

After we re-enlisted, we went to his home and talked for hours.

I never saw Kenny again until we were out of the Air Force. I was working as an instrument technician at Dow Chemical, and Kenny was working as an instrument technician at Borden Chemical. We chanced to meet again at one of the vendor’s crawfish boils.

We continued to see each other for the next few years. Kenny’s wife, Lucy, passed away and with his kids on their own, Kenny went to Thailand and opened up a bar. He was only there for two years when he passed away.

Kenny was one of the few people that bounced in and out of my life.

— De Bacco lives

in Denham Springs

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