Have you ever seen the movie, Big Fish? It is the story of my dad's life. Ok, maybe the writer didn't actually know my dad and didn't mean to be writing about him, never-the-less, that movie says it all about CFC. When my oldest daughter, Rachel, first saw the movie years ago, she began insisting I see it. She kept saying, "Mom, it's just like Grandpa." Maybe that's why I put it off for so long. I felt I already knew all about G-Pa. Did I really need a movie to prove my points? So I have seen the movie, a few times now, and I love it. It’s really about a man that dislikes his father for a variety of reasons, one of them being he believes his dad is a big, fat liar. Come to find out, the dad is a big, fat, liar sort of, but not really. I started out hating the dad and ended up loving him by the end of the movie. Sound familiar yet? Go back and read my previous posts, it will.
To say my dad was a liar would not be totally accurate. He was more of a storyteller. God help me, I think I am seeing a connection here. Anyway, my dad could tell the best stories and people loved him for it. If there was any type of get together, it would always include Charlie Casas giving a speech which could bring people to tears or have them howling in hysterics. Even at eighty-nine years old, the guy is still pretty dang funny.
People never seemed to question if the stories were true or not. They were just so much fun to listen to coming from Mr. Master-Of-Ceremonies. Not only that, but to be a friend of Charlie Casas’ meant to be entertained and included and loved. He was so good at making people feel all three of those things at once. It was amazing to watch my dad in action. He’d walk into a room and whether there were three, thirty or three hundred people, he would work it like Frank Sinatra in Vegas in the 1960’s.
He could also get just about anybody to do just about anything for him. It was like he could cast some kind of magic spell over people with that charming personality of his. It would have been creepy, spooky if he had been a Jim Jones kind of guy but he wasn’t. He was very much the opposite. He wasn’t looking for followers. He was looking for opportunities to do amazing things for other people in a way that made it fun for everybody. He was and still is all about having a good time.
Believe it or not, I have had friends ask me if my dad was in the mafia. Maybe because he had the look; dark, brooding eyes framed by a head full of jet black hair and pearly white teeth that made you need shades from all the sunshiney, bright smiles. Then there were the perpetual business suits he wore. Other dads dressed “normal” but not mine. No, he had to be beautiful all the time, dressed like a Kingpin. He also never, and I mean never carried a wallet like other dads. My dad had a big, fancy, money clip always stuffed with a wad of big bills to go along with his diamond pinky ring...... which he still wears, I might add. Then there was Vegas. The guy loved Vegas and made regular trips there with his buddies and my mom when he could talk her into it. Also, he never actually denied the mafia thing but rather took great pleasure in keeping the mystery alive with those dang stories of his.
Do you have any idea what happens when you are a little girl attending Catholic school and you repeat one of your dads stories to the nuns? Like the one about the hole in your dads t-shirt that came from him taking a bullet to the heart but how he survived and went on to capture three hundred of the bad guys ……. barehanded……..with a bullet in his heart……..still looking good the whole time.
Dear Sister Mary Immaculate,
If you’re reading this, please watch Big Fish. It will explain everything.