in his backyard haven

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Peter Celano

Dearest Peggy, Liz, Joe, Molly, Amy, Katie, and Family;

Thank you very much for the beautiful email, bringing me up-to-date on our beloved Denny. Remaining as technologically-challenged as ever--I have never even attempted blogging--I have determined to place a few, scattered thoughts here as you look to reflect on the powerful impact your husband, father, and my friend had on my life, as well as on that of many, many others instead. Please bear with me as I do so. I am not quite sure where to begin nor how to place my many thoughts into words.

Perhaps most striking to me in Dennis through the years has been his ever-present smile and good humor. I have racked my brain all evening and cannot honestly recall a time when I ever saw Denny without a smile on his face, no matter how serious a situation or weighty a topic of conversation, be it during his tales of working in the defense industry with the power to initiate a nuclear strike, or his seemingly endless patience with me and you, Peggy, as we would spend literally hours on the telephone attempting to solve the problems of school, the world, the Church, The Kingdom, or Life Itself for that matter, only to decide in the end it is all better left "in God's hands" anyway.

I think of our many carpools together to St. Francis meetings, parties, and events when a joke would always seem to break the somber mood at just the right time. I think of a man whose ability to look life in the eye with a gentle assurance that All is always Well granted him the gift of being able to accomplish more here than those of us who take life far too seriously ever could or would.

I think of a man who was always present. Present to you, his family. Present to us, his friends. Present to all: his community, his church, and to the very large chunk of this crazy world God granted him to mold, touch, and love. And mold, touch, and love he did, in the tender yet impacting way only Dennis O'Donnell could.

I think of him chiding me about anything under the sun whenever he could find--or create!--the chance, be it over the sink as he poured me a drink in the kitchen, as he'd meet me or walk me to the door before or after gathering, or over the phone as he'd say in his ever-cheerful, jovial voice, "Well, if it isn't 'Peter's Pence' again..." If I were calling for you, Peg, nine times out of ten I'd forget what I called about in the first place! No matter how gloomy my world would ever seem, a quick chat with Dennis was always the best medicine.

Please know Dennis brings a smile to my heart each and every time I think of him. As you continue to care for him during this very trying and painful time, know that my thoughts, prayers, and love are with you. I am here--and will continue to be so. Do not hesitate to be in touch should any need arise. May God richly bless you, take good care, and always remember that I will ever be

Yours truly,

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