Grandfather’s Hands

So I used to write a lot. A lot more than I do now, anyway. In paging through a lot of old, bad poetry I did find a rather enchanting haiku which I called “Track:”

We throw off our coats

We hope for wings on our feet

And we fall in love

which basically sums up my track experience. I also found the phrase “star-spangled road to heaven” in a poem about the Milky Way. Adolescent Red was not a bad writer. I think I just couldn’t find very good things to write about.

The other thing about today is that I talked to my grandfather for a very long time.

His birthday is on Tuesday, and he will be eighty-seven, and sometimes words escape him and run away and I can’t make a guess because he’s talking from a different time, but we always manage to keep going. We talked about outlaws the family used to know, and his and my grandmother’s first Weimaraner (it’s a kind of dog) whose name was Dusty, and we tried to remember the names of the other six Weimars they’ve had since then but we only got the most recent four (Bonnie, Liz, Mira and Molly). And he told me that he played a chess game with his high school principal and beat him in four moves, and my dad, walking by, said, “That’s how you used to beat me!”

It was great.

And, as we were talking, I noticed something awesome. I love figuring out family  resemblances: my dad has his mother’s hair, for instance, or when people ask me who of my sisters looks most like my parents I always explain that Kristen looks like Mom, Anna looks like Dad, and I’m the hybrid. I looked at my grandpa’s hands. His hands are my dad’s hands. My dad’s hands are my hands. I have my grandfather’s hands.

The coolest part of this is that my grandfather’s hands have done (or tried to do) many of the same things that my hands have done (or tried to do). Both of us were track runners. I was horrible and he was not, but hands were involved. He played the guitar for many years. I tried to learn once; maybe someday I’ll go back to it. He tried to learn the piano once; I’ve played for many years. He was a banker for forty years; I’ll be punching numbers too.

Hands are cool.


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