For the past few weeks, not sure why, I’ve been thinking about my Dad’s hands.
I’ve been waking up recently certain that I had touched or held his hand overnight, perhaps in my dreams – even though he passed away 12 years ago. I can still feel them: a working man’s hands; a craftsmen’s hands; a basement workshop and backyard landscaper’s hands; and later in life, an artist’s hands.
As a little boy, I was always holding his hand or trying to grab his index finger as he swiped it away. When saying goodnight each night, we would shake hands very slowly and meaningfully. It was Dad’s hug. As I grew up, we would occasionally squeeze each other’s hand tight to see who could outlast the other. I was 19 before I would win one of those.
Most people remember my father for his booming voice, his crystal blue eyes, and his presence in a room. I remember all those things. And on this Father’s Day, I remember the feeling of my Dad’s hands.
In 1989, Paul McCartney released the song Put it There. I gravitated to it immediately. It’s about his father’s old saying, “Put it there if it weighs a ton”. Meaning: if you’ve got big troubles, let me take your hand. That’s always reminded me of my Dad putting his hand on my shoulder, squeezing my arm tight when wrapping his arm around me for a picture, and very consciously making eye contact when shaking hands – like he was savoring that moment each and every time.
Well Dad, your very purposeful actions to connect throughout our lives with that magic touch … they all worked, and I can still feel you here today.
Enjoy Put it There … and shake hands with Dad if you get the chance.