His hands were thick and stocky. The fingers twisted and knotted from a lifetime of physical labor. He carried each of his daughters with those hands. He threatened to end many a boys lives with those hands; just let one of those boys be foolish enough to harm his girls. Those hands dried tears and helped to wipe runny noses. Those hands were quick to unleash justice from the end of his belt even if his pants threatened to fall down. I miss those hands. When I was a little girl I used to like to watch my Dad’s hands as they worked. He ran a mean a shoe shine kit. I loved watching him fix his car or work on a project or when he let me watch him shave. I would sit quietly on the edge of the sink as my Pop prepped his face for a Sunday before church shave. Everyday before my Dad left for work he would use his electric shaver or a make quick run over his chops with a cheap disposable razor but Sundays were special. On Sundays my Dad went out of his way to be dressed in his absolute best. I miss the smell of Old Spice in the air.
My Dad would stand at the bathroom sink, while hot water filled the basin and he would tell me the stories of his Dad. How his father before him had a straight razor, a strop, a brush, and a mug with a cake of shaving soap. My Dad would wet his cupped hands in the basin drawing hot water up to his face. He’d grab the boar haired brush off its little stand and wet it in the sink. He would spin that brush over the surface of the cake in the mug until the lather spilled out over the edge and I could smell the fragrant soap in the air. He would make the funniest of faces while he dragged that soapy brush all over his face and neck. I was mesmerized by the act of shaving: rinsing, shaving, lathering, shaving…
I loved to watch my Dad make himself beautiful. When he was finished shaving he’d pour some Old Spice into his hands rub them together quickly and then give his face a few quick slaps. “Good for what ails you” he announced to no one in particular. If I was lucky he’d dab a little on my cheeks and send me on my way. I loved smelling like a hug from my Dad It made me feel special. = )
As a child I remember many nights when he came home from work tired, hungry and beaten by the crap of the day. There was always something more to do. Sound familiar? How he looked forward to the weekend. How we all look forward to the weekend, feelings lost on the foolishness of youth but cherished today for what they really mean to an adult.
Now I realize that I was making memories, then I was just loving my Dad for all of the things that made him special to me.
I miss you Pops.