The Second Second Date Story

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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59 Responses

  1. Burt Likko says:

    Damn. Must be some dust in here, something in my eye…Report

  2. Tom Van Dyke says:

    Stunning. Thx for sharing it, mate.Report

  3. North says:

    Yeah, beautifully written. Burts dust seems to have made it to Minnesota.. all those damn dusty lawyers with their dust. Excuse me…Report

  4. DensityDuck says:

    I think one of the greatest tragedies in the world is that everyone doesn’t get to have stories like this.Report

  5. Jaybird says:

    A good love story is one of the best ones you can tell.

    Well told. Your parents were lucky/good.Report

  6. Robert Cheeks says:


  7. Rufus F. says:

    If we ever do that League essay collection I keep talking about, this will be in there, I promise.Report

  8. John says:

    Your parents were a wonderful light that shone brightly in my childhood. These stories of their early courtship are so human and moving and are an inspiration to me (both the apocryphal and the real one!!) Your father was a great storyteller, and that is one of the “gifts” you got from him Mr. Kelly. Publish it now.Report

  9. Roger says:

    Thank you for sharing and entertaining.Report

  10. Patrick Cahalan says:

    The real measure of a person is a combination of their ability to tell a story, and their ability to generate one.

    Sounds like both of your parents were a kick, my friend. Time to go tip a glass.Report

  11. dhex says:

    that’s a fantastic story.Report

  12. What a truly beautiful remembrance. Thank you for sharing it with us, and in so doing letting us get to know your parents just a little bit.Report

  13. Tod Kelly says:

    Thanks everyone. I debated even posting this, since it’s a little out of character for the site. Your kind words are appreciated.

    As my dad would have said, they make me feel finer than frog hair.Report

  14. Andrew says:

    Tod, that’s quite a story, and well told. I teared up too. I still have such clear images of your parents, even your father’s hands, and that story encapsulates so much. Show me that photo next time I’m in town, OK?Report

  15. Ryan Bonneville says:

    Beautiful, Tod. In planning my own wedding, I find myself reflecting on marriage pretty much all the time (because it’s less stressful than the wedding to think about, and it gives me some perspective). I’m sure I will come back to this a lot over the next few months, so thank you for sharing. Your parents really knocked it out of the park.Report

  16. E.D. Kain says:

    I hate to say this, but this piece deserves a much bigger platform than our little League. Excellent and very moving.Report

  17. mbs says:

    Yes!!! Bigger platform indeed.
    I’m thinking back page of the NY Times Sunday Magazine.
    The dust seems to have kicked up here in NY , where I sit weeping.
    Beautiful writing, beautiful people. It’s all about heart. Just listen
    to your heart. You have a gift to share. Keeping writing…!!!
    xoxox, MReport

  18. JG New says:

    Just beautiful.Report

  19. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    Thank you.Report

  20. Fish says:

    Wow. Well done.Report

  21. I’ve been away the past few days, and I missed this. This really is excellent.Report

  22. Theresa says:

    Simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing this.Report

  23. Chris says:

    What a wonderful piece! Each part is told so well. I didn’t expect it to bring up some seldom-seen tears.Report

  24. C says:

    This story is finding it’s way around the globe. Aussie here. Came via reddit.

    That was beautiful and I, too, misted up. You gave me the strongest feeling in my day.Report

  25. Andrea says:

    This is, as everyone has said, really beautiful. And what makes it even nicer is all the love in the comments. How great to see genuine remarks and not snarky rants. A very nice little corner of the Internet. Thanks!Report

  26. Derek says: linked to you, which is how I got here.

    Then it got a little dusty in here.Report

  27. Lorrian says:

    What a lovely story. I’d miss your parents, too. Thank you for sharing.Report

  28. David Marcon, DC says:

    Dear Tod,
    Great story! My parents are married 58 yrs this year and my Dad also had polio that he conceals from most everyone.Report

  29. Catherine says:

    Wow this is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing and allowing us a glimpse into their lives.Report

  30. james says:

    Wonderful insight into true feelings & emotions, couldn’t have been easyReport

  31. Meaghan McGlasson says:

    Truly amazing! Your parents sound wonderful. This story is enough to make anyone cry, like I didn’t do enough of that at the conference. Thank you for sharing your excitement, enthusiasm, and casino chips 🙂Report

  32. Shane says:

    Hey Tod, delighted to find my way here. (through my favorite email of the week, Longreads’ five recommendations).

    My father too had polio as a child, which left him with a badly malformed leg and a heavy limp. Shamefully, I’ve never spoken to him about it, or my parents’ lives when they were young. They had a family of four before they separated, and they’ve been apart for longer now than they ever were together, but still there must have been moments of love and happiness, none of which I really know anything of.

    Your piece also found me as I fretted over the night feed and pained restlessness of my four-week old son, and helped to give me a perspective I might not otherwise have found. I’ve been touched. Thanks.

    (Incidentally, don’t suppose there’s any Irish in there? Kelly a common name around these parts – indeed, my mother is one!)Report

    • Tod Kelly in reply to Shane says:


      Thanks for your comments.

      It sounds like our fathers might have been on different ends of the spectrum in terms of how polio affected them. It is true that my dad’s hand never quite worked correctly; in fact he was born a righty and was forced as a kid to learn how to be a lefty. But by the time I was around he had figured out ways to use it that made it pretty impossible to tell. (Except when remembering things like this story, I tend to forget that he had polio altogether.)

      My wife’s parents were like yours in that they divorced when she was growing up; raising our own boys we have been trying to take the best of what amounts to three families that we knew growing up.

      Huzzah and congrats on the arrival of your four week old son. You have quite the adventure in front of you, filled with the very best and worst moments of your life. (Nothing will prepare you for the terror of that first serious flu or illness.) But the best will outweigh the worst a thousand fold. Watching your son slowly, more and more become the person he is going to be is itself worth the whole price of admission.

      Also, yes – we’re about as Irish as an American family that isn’t Catholic and doesn’t live on Boston can be.Report

  33. stinsone says:

    the dust in the eye has made it to Vienna, Austria too, via a link to this wonderful touching story from’s Sitdown Sunday Seven Deadly Reads.

  34. Dearbhlá says:

    A really delightful story – thanks so much for sharing it! It’s really made my weekend!Report

  35. Britt says:


    Your honest, beautiful piece about those amazing, wonderful and flawed human beings that are your  parents has stuck with me over the past few weeks.  Of course I cried.  Of course I remembered how supportive and gracious they both were.  It reminded me of watching Big Fish after both our fathers had died.

    But really (and you know I mean this as a compliment) it’s the best damn sermon I’ve read in a long time!Report