My father’s hands December 28, 2012Posted by Tracy in : Uncategorized , trackback
My father was a man who held a family together with strong yet gentle hands. I held one of those hands as I said goodbye and reflected on all it had done for us – the same huge hand that had held mine as I took my first steps, that had cradled countless babies’ heads as he welcomed them into the world with delight. Powerful hands that had built the two houses where we had lived, cracked the riddle of many a frozen engine block, twisted many a bolt, lifted a wireless internet tower to triumphant verticality.
The hands that scraped the ice from many a windshield on a day like today, so that we wouldn’t have to. The hands that drove an hour early each morning into the city, to work in a factory, so that we could grow up in the country. The hands that took on odd jobs in the evenings, like the one that eventually would cost him his life, so that we could live in comfort.
These were the proud, capable hands of a man’s man, one who knew how to get things done and didn’t hesitate in doing them. Hands callused to the elements, to the rough tug of the pull cord that yanked to life a mower or a chain saw, or if it hesitated, to plumb its oily depths for the answer to the mechanical mysteries of its malfunction. Teaching a grandchild to thread a fishhook, cast a line, and celebrate the resulting catch; and always being the one to clean the fish at the end.
These hands, the knuckles gnarled with calcification, strumming the strings of his autoharp. Learning to play guitar at 73. Prying open the delicate links of a silver chain to reassemble a favorite necklace of a daughter or a wife. Beaming as yet another baby curled a tiny tentative hand around his big finger. Turning the fragile pages of his timeworn Bible or clasped in prayer, searching for the wisdom that would guide his day.
I let go the beloved hand with a final prayer. That the hands that created him now would cradle him with a greater love than our own. And that those same hands will one day reunite us all.
We love you, Papa. And we will never let you go.