Cleaning out my studio, I’m taking my time, going through accumulated supplies, stacks of past creations, boxes of old photos and letters and scribbles of poetry and journals and sketchbooks, in an effort to weed out the things that no longer serve me. It’s epic — I have a LOT of this stuff. But it’s kind of fun (I get off on cleaning and organizing) and is oft times amusing and sometimes heart-wrenching as I sift through the layers of my life.
This morning I came across this sketch I did in 1987 or so of my father’s hand. Timely, as he would have been 83 yesterday. (I opened a bottle of his wine in his honor.)
My father had beautiful hands, with long elegant fingers. I think he may have been a pianist in a previous life. That would help explain his passion for classical music, at least. Perhaps I was a pianist too — for the same reason. My mother always said that I have my father’s hands, for my hands, too, are long and slender. A carpenter, handyman, woodsman, baker, gardener, jotter-downer-of-things, and of course a pathologist earning his paycheck with the deft manuevering of a scalpel and microscope, my father — like me — was happiest when his mind engaged with his hands.
I’m touched by this sketch, and how accurately I captured this hand. Even before reading the caption — “Dad’s hand….waiting for bill after soup and salad bar at Main Street w/Hitzels,” I recognized it instantly as the hand of my father.
My father wasn’t an emotionally demonstrative man; he didn’t hug or really touch people. But when he lay on his hospital bed dying of cancer three years ago, I held this hand between my own, and stroked and massaged the perrenial ache in his wrist.
“That feels nice” were among the last words he said.