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    November 30. Susan, Christine and I saw two of three new Italian plays at the Cherry Lane theatre. I actually thought I had booked the third offer which was a Pirandello revival but we were all glad that we did not miss “The Journey I Never made” and “Story of Love and Soccer”. Both excellently translated and powerfully acted. The first is a thought provoking and somewhat unsettling portrayal of the current social turmoil and the second is modern thriller about corrupt sport and the triumph of evil over good. We were able to chat with one of the actors about the plays after the show. Before the show we ate lobster and oysters at the  “Fish” restaurant which was only two blocks from the theatre!

     

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David Hogaboom

David Hogaboom – 12 November, 2013 – A tribute 

David, my friend of 45 years, neighbor and fishing partner died unexpectedly last night.  Dear Amy, his wife, called this morning this morning to tell me the news. 

He and I had been skypeing  each other for some time and  he kept me abreast of the, almost continuous,  series of treatments that he has had to endure during the last few years – he suffered one illness after another ever since a serious aneurism of about four years back. Only two days ago he rang me to say that he was back in hospital, this time with leukemia. We joked that the chemotherapy might his cause his hair to fall out (He was almost completely bald!). 

Except for one valiant effort three years ago, it was the aneurism which put a halt to our annual pilgrimage to Cochrane (a town of three or four thousand souls in Canada’s Far-North) to seek the trophy Walleye Pike; a pilgrimage which had endured for 25 years or more. It began when David, who owned a small camper and knew that I enjoyed tenting in any weather, invited me to join him on a fishing adventure.  We took Kiowa, my nine-or-ten-year-old grandson, with us since I was the man in his life at that time. David, who taught woodwork at a village school, was acquainted with a professional rod maker and, in fact, was pleased, as a favor to his friend, to add decorative touches to the unique hand-made products.  As a result, David presented me with a named and signed carbon rod and Kiowa, a junior version!  

 Thus enviously equipped, we confidently joined the ranks of the weathered fishers of the Far North. David drove all the way in the early days; he didn’t allow me to drive his camper.  His constant stops at Tim Horton’s for coffee and doughnuts and the diversions demanded by me and Kiowa, made the journey to Cochrane of 1,000 miles, last about four days. 

Over the years, we three, experienced untold adventures together. Descending a mile into a gold mine where Kiowa held a stick of dynamite in his hand; overturning canoes with all our equipment aboard; encounters with bear and moose; seeing displays of the Northern Lights; portaging to other lakes in search of the biggest fish; watching the flaming slagheaps of Sudbury; and a trip north on the Polar Bear express to Moosonee, James bay, were a few of them. A thrill for all of us was the occasion when young Billy, the pilot of the float plane, allowed Kiowa to take over the joy stick for a while! 

After David and Amy moved down to Florida, some ten or twelve years ago, the pattern changed. David would fly to New York to stay with me, sending his gear up in advance. We would then drive north in my Gallant, staying in motels on the way and at Lillabelle Lodge at our destination. Kiowa was no longer accompanying us, of course, so we generally drove directly to the lake where the outfitter kept his plane (Billy Konapelky  was , by this time, an owner as well as the pilot). Occasionally, as the fancy took us, and so as to break out of the rut, we would go off the beaten track and stay overnight at one of Ontario’s picturesque little towns like Perth, for example.

The adventures came to an end with David’s aneurism—Amy just got him to the hospital in time!  

Ethel and I flew down to see him in re-hab and after a few days he perked up considerably and talked as though he would be flying up north as usual!  And, in fact he did, not so very long after! He loved the experience so much. He made an heroic effort but the exercise was far too much for him. He could hardly board the boat while it was floating; I would maneuver it onto the shore and use the oars to lever it back into the water when he had managed to get into position. It was a dangerous procedure and I felt very uneasy that I would be unequipped to help him if things went wrong, given that we were a hundred miles from the nearest habitation. Never-the-less, we fished a little and cooked some of our catch. But, mostly, we reminisced and enjoyed the isolation of the wilderness. We cut back on the visit and returned to New York in two days.  

David and I were not alike in our outlook on what is important in life but we were perfectly complimentary. I flatter myself that he looked to me for guidance from time to time. But, never, did he take my advice on dietary matters! He was infinitely generous to me—I owe much of the precision of my furniture–making to the books and materials he gave me. And, of course, we learned a great deal of each other’s deepest thoughts and needs during the isolation of our fishing trips. We became great friends of understanding, not necessarily articulated. To his chagrin, though, I always caught the biggest fish! 

Of all the gifts I received from David, it was the opportunity he gave me to be light years away from the madding crowd, fishing with him in that magic wilderness. That, I will miss to the end of my days. 

 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  

Throughout 25years I have, as you will imagine, amassed hundreds of pictures, here are just a very few of my favorites:

Coming in to  alight at our modest abode for the next eight days

Coming in to alight at our modest abode for the next eight days

A signpost not far from our destination - Every year, a welcome sight

A signpost not far from our destination – Every year, a welcome sight

Settling in for the night

Settling in for the night

Luncheon guest

Luncheon guest

Fish on!!

Fish on!!

Sh!

Sh!

North Bay. A regular staging point

North Bay. A regular staging point

Perth delights

Perth delights

Billy prepares to depart and leave the world to David and to me

Billy prepares to depart and leave the world to David and to me

"Mine was twice this big!"

“Mine was twice this big!”

A smile for all the word . . . David

A smile for all the world . . .
David

 

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5 Responses

  1. Thanks Ben – both a heartfelt memorial and educational for a city slicker like me.

  2. Ben, I’m so terribly saddened to read this. You have spoken so fondly of David always, and the near reverence you’ve portrayed of the depth of your friendship and unique place you’ve held in each other’s lives is such a loving tribute to a clearly wonderful man. I don’t know that many get to experience such a special bond with another person, and I hope that carries a measure of comfort for you. This is an almost cruel period of loss for you, and I’m just so sorry.

    Much love always.

  3. Dear Ben…. You have truly honored David with your beautiful tribute. What a magnificent tale of friendship and adventure. My heartfelt condolences. Much love, Bonnie

  4. Ben and Dave were quite the team. Their friendship included the summer fishing jaunts into Canada, a lot of wine drunk at the picnic table in the garden of the Ogden Avenue house, furniture projects and many heated discussions. Dave you will be missed by the Thompson clan, especially by our fearless leader, my father Ben

  5. My deepest condolences on the loss of your dear friend.
    Beth

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