Joe Crilley


I think of my Dad alot now. I don't know if it is because we had unsettled business over Vietnam or that I miss talking to him, of hearing the stories he told. He died on a Tuesday when I was mowing the lawn. I had the kids that day and they were upstairs online so I never got the call from my Mom at the hospital. When I look at his life and try to understand the pain, the shame, the guilt he felt from the events that were hurled at him, I begin to understand not only who he was but why I am the way I am. For 55 years he was haunted by ghosts of people that he saw and of people that he knew. He could never hide from them even in his loneliness. The fear of talking to someone and have the war come up was too much to bear. A lifetime of nightmares tucked away in the attic.

Author's footnote: I have played softball for over 30 years, something I love to do. My Dad stopped playing ball because he worried he could get hurt and not being able to provide for his family. The greatest game I ever played happened on June 9, 2000 at Fireman's Grove in Ballston Lake, New York just a few weeks shy of my 51st birthday. I was the starting pitcher that game and in the first inning got roughed up for four runs. Later in the game, by luck, I came up with men on base and drove in sevens runs with two singles and two doubles, including the game winning RBI. In the seventh inning I was relieved and ended up in centerfield, my old position from younger days. I caught the final out which was cool because it was easy to keep the game ball. I remember this game because it was the first game I played after my Dad died.


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