It is one birthday party the Kelly family will never forget.
They gathered outside in the pouring rain Wednesday afternoon to sing “Happy Birthday” to their dad on the other side of a window pane at The Gables of Green assisted living home.
The birthday boy, Patrick Kelly, a retired Canton postmaster, waved back as his kids and grandchildren gathered for his 92nd birthday.
Life and birthdays go on in the coronavirus pandemic.
“Poor Dad,” said his daughter, Kathleen Kelly-Calcei. “This is the crummiest party we have ever had for him.”
Dad seemed nonplussed by it all as he ate a cupcake while comfy, warm and dry inside.
He even asked for a second cupcake as a well-represented contingent of his seven kids and grandchildren shivered outside.
Kelly-Calcei, who lives in Akron, said this is the odd new normal for the family, which is known for its large gatherings and hugs and kisses.
The whole idea of keeping the proper social distance is tough, she said, but necessary.
She knows her dad is safe at The Gables, which adopted a no outside visitor rule early on as fears over the spread of the virus spread.
“He said, ‘There goes my birthday,’” she said. “I just thought we needed to show him that we care and love him.”
Patrick and his wife, Mary Ann, were among the first residents to move into The Gables when it opened. She passed away around two years ago, after 63 years of marriage.
The family held up a large birthday sign and took turns touching the window as he did the same from inside.
“We just couldn’t let our father feel alone,” Kelly-Calcei said. “This was a good thing for him.”