There is a saying you will hear in a lot of Irish pubs: “You’re a stranger but once ….” It is a sign that should have been emblazoned on the heart of Kelly Breslin, who died April 21 at 44.
Concurrent with a life that had her working and mingling with a great many of the city’s elite, Kelly was comfortable with the hot dog guy on the corner, shoe repairman down the block and bouncer at the club. It should not take a leap of the imagination to figure out where that DNA comes from: She was Jimmy Breslin’s daughter.
More than that, though, when you had good news, or even when you merely thought you might, you could not find a greater cheerleader than Kelly. Nothing was ever okay or fine with Kelly. Everything was “great,” “fantastic” or “unbelievable,” as was she.
“Well−meant lateness,” intoned her father (columnist and author Jimmy Breslin) during her eulogy, bringing a Mona Lisa smile of recognition to the faces of those who had come to pay their respects April 25. It was one of her most endearing and forgivable attributes. I could not help but think that here was Kelly, finally doing something she had never done all her life.
She was early. Far too early, unspeakably early, at 44.
How cruel that the rest of us should be deprived of someone with so much of the energy, ingenuity, spunk and pizzazz that seem particular to New York City. Perhaps it is Kelly’s saving grace, then, that she was able to pack more living into her far too brief 44 years — more laughing, more loving — than most do with 88. She will be missed, but never forgotten.
©2009 Community News Group
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