My Father’s Hands

I have said before that I read and use Judy Reeves “A Creative Writer’s Kit”  As part of this kit there is a book called ‘Prompts and Practices”.  Each day of the year has a suggestion for what to write.  And today’s was “Write about your father’s hands”.

Well if you have been reading or following me for a while now you will know that I consider myself the luckiest person alive in that my father was a fabulous person.    I wrote about him in September last year – Memories of My Father.  He was a special man.

But now his hands.  These were the strong hands of a working man.  He had been a cabinetmaker all his life and so his hands were rough to the touch and scarred from using and being nicked by his tools.  The hands were  strong and capable.  Apart from being a master craftsman he was a virtual jack of all trades.  He it was who reupholstered the couch when it needed to be done; he decorated the apartment and then our house, he fixed leaking pipes and he fixed his daughters’ lives when any of his girls was unhappy.

On my wedding day those were the hands that held mine in the car on the way to the church and those were the hands that passed  me over into the care of my DYS (dashing young Scotsman).

Those were the hands that lovingly cradled his first grandchild the day she was born.  Those hands went on to cradle each of the other grandchildren in turn.

Those were the hands that helped a small boy build with Meccano pieces and on a later visit showed that small boy how to use some of his tools.

Those were the hands that picked up small people when they had mishaps with their tricycles.

The nails were short and bluntly cut.  I remember when I was visiting him in London late in his life that I offered to do his nails for him.  He agreed and so the next day when I went to see him I took my manicure things with me.  Of course, I had no intention of giving him a manicure, it was just to get a laugh out of him.  He took one look at all the implements and said “Just cut the nail straight across”.  However, he did enjoy my applying hand cream.

So my memories of my father’s hands are many.  He was a good man and his hands feature in many of my memories of him.

Sadly he is no longer with us and is sorely missed by his three daughters and their families.  At his funeral they played “Unforgettable” and that certainly sums up my father.

“To live in lives we leave behind
is not to die.”
Judith Baxter, daughter, sister & friend.

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22 responses to “My Father’s Hands

  1. Lovely tribute to your father, Judith. Thanks for sharing your memories.

  2. How lovely to have such treasured memories of your Dad.

  3. Lovely. Strange how relatively trivial things can trigger so many memories and emotions, isn’t it? You were very blessed in your parents.

  4. That’s a lovely memorial. He sounds like just the kind of person I admire, so I can agree you wee blessed to have him as your father

  5. Lovely. I’ve seen this exercise and the one “my father’s eyes”….gives much food for thought, doesn’t it?

  6. What a wonderful father you were blessed to have Judith. I loved your story about his hands as they tell us so much about him. I also wrote a story based on my fathers hands which has been published in a magazine and an anthology. It is a very good prompt especially for those of us who had such wonderful fathers.

  7. Isn’t it interesting how hands play such an important part in our memories of loved ones? I’m glad the “prompt” initiated this post because it is such a wonderful tribute to your father.

  8. What lovely memories of your father, Judith. I ordered Reeves’ writing kit, but I’ve not managed to use it every day. The year started off well, but things have gotten a bit hectic with our family’s health issues. Thanks for recommending it.

  9. Lovely about our Dad he was a very special Gentleman

  10. Christine in Los Angeles

    We were very lucky to have the great parents we did. I’m sorry I didn’t spend more time with them, after I ‘left home’, and my daughter barely knew them.
    One of the downsides of growing up, and leaving home, for your own life..
    A great quote, from Barbara Kingsolver, in “Pigs in Heaven”: ‘That’s the trouble with movving away from family … … you lose your youth entirely, you have only the small baggage that is carried within the body’ which I take to mean the memories that remain.
    God bless, from your Big Sister

    • Yes I agree our children missed out on really knowing their grandparents. But weren’t we lucky I had not seen that Barbara K quote before Thank you big sister

  11. So my memories of my father’s hands are many. He was a good man and his hands feature in many of my memories of him.

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