Thursday, August 31, 2017


June is now long gone and with it Father’s Day and my own father's birthday. That doesn't mean I do not think of it and him.

My late dad, Charles Edmund Reilly, Sr. was an extraordinary man because he was so ordinary. I never recall him, ever, calling attention to himself. His life revolved around my mother, a four foot, ten inch meteor to whom he was utterly devoted. Theirs was a “marriage made in Heaven” according to their friends. Who knows? I can bear witness to the fact that they never argued, let alone fought in word or deed in front of their children.

If their marriage was not made in Heaven, their attraction and devotion to each other surely was. And an early starter too. They were 12-year-olds when my father walked the four blocks separating their family homes to present this diminutive curly-haired girl a box of chocolate candy at Christmas time. Alas, she had nothing in the way of a gift for him. Up the stairs she raced to my grandfather's bureau, whipped out a silk scarf, quickly wrapped it and gifted this young swain with same. Certainly he was impressed. Not so her father who went ballistic when the theft was eventually discovered.

When my brothers and I were youngsters my father took us on “Sunday drives”. Having a car during the Great Depression was reason enough to celebrate, but of course we were too young to understand such things. My father was an excellent driver for good reason. Old-timers remembered him as a 5-year-old with cascading blonde curls driving around the neighborhood at the wheel of a Pierce Arrow roadster.

However, my parents did have a difference of opinion on the subject of dancing. My mother detested it. And this was even before the compulsory dancing class graduation with our mothers as partners. Only the expression on her face showed that 3 of my box 4 step were on the top of her feet. Dad on the other hand was masterful and much admired by the ladies. My mother shared their view because she could happily sit on the sidelines as one lady after another lined up to dance with him.

The years have flown by since my father moved up to the Great Ballroom in the Sky. My “If Only” list would roll back the film of life and afford me a chance to hang out with him and ask why he did this or that. And perhaps learn how to change an outright klutz into Fred Astaire at least for a dance or two.

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