Friday, May 29, 2015

My Daddy's Hands

My daddy's hands could fix anything.  I remember sitting at the kitchen table, watching mesmerized, as they folded a dollar bill into a complex pleated form to fit on the worn out bellows of our cuckoo clock. The kitchen table was the site of many of these magical feats.  Daddy could deftly repair cracked circuits with the touch of his trusty soldering gun, the air thick with the tang of the melted metal.  If something stopped working, he would take it apart and put it back together again, good as new.  

Too frugal to buy a fancy stereo system with giant speakers, my daddy made them himself, with his own hands.  An old tube television stopped working so he gutted the cabinet and installed a new one.  Nothing went to waste. My daddy's hands built a pump for friends in East Texas, helped rewire and rework an old house for another, and generally reached out wherever they could be of assistance.  

Not long ago, I acquired an antique Featherweight sewing machine.  I could see the cord was original, cracked and dangerous to use.  I knew this might be my very last time to see my daddy's hands make magic.  I asked, "Daddy, could you fix this?" knowing he could.  But his once nimble fingers, now stiff and twisted with arthritis, made the task much more difficult than either of us imagined.  He struggled, but conquered the task.

My daddy had a heart of gold, but a tongue of lead.  He couldn't give a compliment if his life depended on it.  What he did possess, was a pair of magical hands that could fix anything.

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