Jim's Journal

My Granfather’s Hands


These are the hands of a man.These are the hands of a strong man, a kind man, a gentle man.

These are the hands that shaped many lives, they held my mother, they held me, they held my children.

They built ships and they built pigeon coups. They fixed things. They wrote things. They helped pick up many when they were down. And they put others in their place. They pulled and they pushed, they squeezed and they touched. They held on, but not too much.

I remember dinners where they fed the hunger of the man they belonged to after a hard days work. Black lines under their nails that couldn’t be washed away after that long day. A day spent holding welding tools, hammers, cold steel and sometimes simply snapping to get men in order. I remember the few words spoken above them that meant so much to me.

I remember the gentile grasp they held on those pigeons raised with care, to race and return to that coup built with those two hands. Hours in the garden too, moving earth and water into fertile ground, growing tomato plants taller than me. I remember the way they held a knife so precisely to carve a piece of wood into something only he could see, until it was there in front of us.

Padded and powerful, little distance between thumb and pointer, mits really, to grasp your hand in a firm shake,
To pull you in at just the right moment so that your balance is gone and you fall, safely into those powerful arms.

Not perfect but joyous in their flaws, like the man. Passionate and true to himself. Honest and committed to his family and what he believes In.

These are the hands of a man.

A kind and caring man with purpose and thought deep in his character. I love this man, he is so much of what is right about me and a part of everything I do. I watched the love he gave to my Mother, my Grandmother, my wife and my children. I know the gifts he has given, he taught me to work hard and to strive to be the best. To trust what I believe in and live by it. To learn my craft, to perfect it and to teach it.

I look at my hands and I want them to be like his. I tear at the soil in my garden, to make things grow,

To make things,

To feel connected to life and being. When I held my children I held them with strength and felt him in me, my memories of him holding my hand, of what he held in hope for me. There is so much good in the world – I look for the good, and I see a man who has so much in so little, happiness and hope, focus and fire.

I love you grandpa, stay strong and proud – we are.

And I love you Mom.