All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned from Bessie

Today I'm going to put the spotlight Andrea Bess "Bessie" Abel. She deserves an entire post - and she's going to get one.
Bessie and I - Mannequins - August 2007

Bessie and I have been friends for 20 years; we met at Disney in the entertainment department when we both dressed up as cartoons for beer money. I went off to college and eventually to work for Uncle Sugar - and Bessie rose up through the ranks and continues to spread the magic as an Entertainment Coordinator at EPCOT, where she works, full time.

In late November of 2000, we (Ricardo and I, my roommate at the time - I was living in Orlando) had a room free at our house. Around the same time, Bessie was thinking of moving out of her place. The deal was done. She moved in - and, to this day, it was one of the most important years of my life.

You know how there's an expression "a man's man"? Well, Bessie is a "woman's woman". She's a hero - all the time. She can sew anything, cook anything, fix anything. Ricardo and I always joked, "She's Emeril in the kitchen, Martha Stewart in the house and MacGuyver with the fix-its."

In times of crisis, she never coddled, pitied or felt sorry for you - she just helped you...sigh...
fix it. She nursed me through more heartbreaks, family drama and job decisions than I could ever count.

In the fall of 2001, she went through a heartbreak - it was a rough one, but late-night Lambrusco on our back porch helped. Around the same time, a nice young man named Ryan (who, coincidentally, was the same name of the fella that had just broken her heart) approached me. Ryan also worked with us, as a parade technician; and wanted to ask Bessie out.

He knew, even then - the best way to the milk.

Good man.

I lobbied for Ryan (who's first name is actually 'Sabian', to which I call him by, still!), but Bessie was having NONE of it. "FIRST OF ALL - I am NOT dating ANOTHER GUY named 'Ryan'!! SECOND OF ALL - no more younger guys!"

We [Ryan and I, along with some coaxing from Ricardo] continued to work on her - and, eventually (and when I say 'eventually', I think it was about 2 weeks), on her birthday in October of 2001, Bessie and Ryan went on their first date.

In April of this year, they celebrated their 4-year anniversary.

Bessie, Sabian and I - Mannequins - August 2007

Naturally, the 'itch' came 'round this fall - and they decided to 'try' starting a family (right around the time the photo above was taken, actually). In true Bessie form, the VERY FIRST (no lie) time they tried....

Bada bing.

May 2008 - just a few weeks before due date!

Welcome to one of the most incredible families you could ever be born into, Miss Gena Ryanni Abel:

Gena Ryanni Abel
Born: 15 July 2008
Weight: 7.5 pounds
Winnie Palmer Hospital, Orlando

Andrea - you will never know the joy you have brought into my life...until now. You are one of the true pillars in my life, and I am happy beyond belief for all three of you. You are beautiful, bright and brilliant beyond compare.

Congratulations to you and Sabian...I love you all so much...TO THE MOON AND BACK!!

Toma's Favorite Song Today: "Baby Mine" by Bette Midler