His Hands

“A good father will leave his imprint on his daughter
 for the rest of her life.”
James C. Dobson
  His Hands
By Elece Hollis

As we harvested the grapes for jelly-making
I took photos of his hands;
I wanted never to forget those hands,
How they looked in my mind’s eye.

The photos shocked me—rocked me
Never would I have thought those hands
Had already become strange, drifted
My daddy’s hands—into the shallows of my memory.

I think I only imagined I knew 
What his hands looked like—those hands.
What is it I do remember? 
It’s how those hands felt holding mine.

When I was small and frightened, those hands
Caught me, lead me, nurtured me.
Those are comforting memories,
Which cannot be captured in a photograph.

Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right.
 Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell 
on the fine good things in others.
Philippians 4:8 TLB



Helen Steiner Rice wrote many poems about the love of family. 
In this book her beloved poems are paired with devotional thoughts written by Elece Hollis.

Dear Dad,

I remember that day at the fair when I was only five-years-old. I lost you and panicked and ran to catch up and grab your hand. Imagine my fright to realize I had chosen the wrong hand! I knew how your hand felt and knew I had erred. Soon I found you and the comfort of your hand holding mine has stayed with me all my life. How I wish I could hold your hand now.

It is hard to be so far away and think of you lying in a hospital bed with a broken leg, a new mechanical hip joint, and doctors probing and testing you for cancer. I am afraid for you, afraid for us. We need you. I need you. I need to feel your hand and know all is well. The universe seems to jump a gear and run haywire sometimes. I feel now just the way I felt that day at the fair when the wrong hand’s face leaned over to me and said, “I bet you think I’m your daddy, don’t you, little girl?”

I’ll be coming up soon to take care of you and Mama for a few weeks. It will be so good to sit near you and talk to you. It will be good to touch your hands and know it is you and you are getting stronger and soon will be working again, carrying in firewood and building a fire, pouring a cup of coffee, wielding a pen over a crossword puzzle, lacing your work boots, shoveling snow, planting your garden, greeting a friend with a handshake, tousling a grandchild’s hair.

I see that day. I know it will come soon and I will be comforted even though my own hands should be the ones doing the comforting this time. I think I will always need you, Daddy.

Love you,
Elece

Dear Dad,

I remember that day at the fair when I was only five-years-old. I lost you and panicked and ran to catch up and grab your hand. Imagine my fright to realize I had chosen the wrong hand! I knew how your hand felt and knew I had erred. Soon I found you and the comfort of your hand holding mine has stayed with me all my life. How I wish I could hold your hand now.

It is hard to be so far away and think of you lying in a hospital bed with a broken leg, a new mechanical hip joint, and doctors probing and testing you for cancer. I am afraid for you, afraid for us. We need you. I need you. I need to feel your hand and know all is well. The universe seems to jump a gear and run haywire sometimes. I feel now just the way I felt that day at the fair when the wrong hand’s face leaned over to me and said, “I bet you think I’m your daddy, don’t you, little girl?”

I’ll be coming up soon to take care of you and Mama for a few weeks. It will be so good to sit near you and talk to you. It will be good to touch your hands and know it is you and you are getting stronger and soon will be working again, carrying in firewood and building a fire, pouring a cup of coffee, wielding a pen over a crossword puzzle, lacing your work boots, shoveling snow, planting your garden, greeting a friend with a handshake, tousling a grandchild’s hair.

I see that day. I know it will come soon and I will be comforted even though my own hands should be the ones doing the comforting this time. I think I will always need you, Daddy.

Love you,
Elece