Since I gave mothers some blog space in May, I guess I will write about fathers in June. The 16th is Father’s Day, a day to contemplate and/or celebrate fathers. My dad died 10 years ago after a long illness. He worked hard at living those last three years, and, I think, had some good days. I was at his side with my mother when he died. I remember she was baking cookies and had a batch in the oven when I called her in to be with Dad at the end. She sent me into the kitchen to take the cookies out of the oven so they wouldn’t burn. Then I called the hospice nurse, who had been there just that morning, to come back. It was the first time I had been with someone who died while I watched. It was a peaceful end, though chaotic in my head.

I wrote a poem years ago about my dad’s hands, but I couldn’t find it in my files, so I wrote another one in the same spirit as the first one:

My Father’s Hands

My father’s hands worked the land,
holding the steering wheel of the tractor,
guiding it down the long straight rows
where corn or soy beans would soon grow.

It was dirty work,
and his hands often had to repair equipment:
greasy gears, nuts and bolts, and other parts
that broke in the toil of the day.

He would come in at night,
hands covered in the day’s work,
and clean them as carefully and thoroughly
as he could.

Often his hands were cracked and rough,
and the soil would ingrain itself into those spaces,
but he would wash and scrub
before he came to the table for supper.

Somehow, on Sundays, after a week of hard work,
his hands were immaculate,
his nails neatly trimmed and cleaned,
as he tied his tie getting ready for church.

What was your father’s work? What did you know about what he did?

How did your father’s work influence your life’s work?

Write about a memory you have about your father.

2 replies
  1. Sarah Birnbach
    Sarah Birnbach says:

    I love your poem about your Dad. It made me remember my own father and how he’d clean his nails when he came home from the dingy furniture store at night. I’m going to do your prompts, which I also love. My father died 19 years ago this September and I still miss him every day. Thank you for this beautiful post.

    Reply

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