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 were 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.