by cheri block
Today is my late father’s birthday. He died young, by today’s standards. He was a dentist whose hands gently repaired aching teeth.
His hands, holding a reel, also waited patiently for that trout-nibble in the river.
They crafted home-made kites, hammered redwood decks, wrapped sailboat-rope around iron hooks on weathered docks, gripped rubber-Harley-handles, and gently scattered glitter on glue-blobs on the holiday letter.
I never saw those hands make an obscene gesture or strike an animal. Oh sure, every now and then, when I smarted off from the backseat of our Buick Vista-Dome station-wagon, that flat hand whirled around like a paddle-wheeler and swatted my leg, usually missing its mark.
As I reflect on my father’s life this morning, I suppose it is his hands that I see.
In the darkroom, the blue-glow of the light renders those hands shadows, holding the small tongs and pushing the paper back and forth in the chemicals until an image begins to emerge.
On the make-shift basketball court that is our driveway, those hands surrender to their wrists, whose quick and accurate flicks send the ball through the hoop.
Those hands pick me up, put me down, and set me free.
Those hands wave good-bye.