When most folks hear the phrase “In Good Hands”, they think of Allstate Insurance. I, on the other hand (pun intended), always think of my Daddy and his hands.
My Daddy was a talented inventor who earned over 150 patents in his lifetime. He was a tinkerer and used his hands to fix, adjust or modify almost any mechanical device that he ever touched. He was a great story teller who used his hands to enhance his stories and he loved to train whistles, sling shots and other toys for us kids.
I remember Daddy’s gentle hands applying countless band aids, cold compresses and back rubs when I was injured or ill. He also made stilts out of tin cans and twine, then, spent hours teaching us to walk on them. Once he built a contraption that he called a “Flyin Jenny”. It was a cross between a sea-saw and a tilt-a-whirl. In not only moved up and down, it spun around. He made this thing long before anybody in our neck of the woods ever saw a tilt-a-whirl.
There was a strip of swampy marsh land between my childhood home and the downtown area where my family shopped. In this marsh grew a patch of tall majestic cat-tail plants that all the kids liked. Often when we drove passed this area, Daddy stopped the Model A Ford, removed his shoes and socks, got out of the car, rolled up his pant legs, waded into the marsh and picked cat-tails for each of us kids. I didn’t realize until years later that alligators lived in that marsh.
Fishing with Daddy was definitely a hands on experience. There were only two things he wouldn’t do for his fishing buddies:
- Bait their hook: “If you don’t want to bait the hook – then, you aren’t serious about fishin’.”
- Clean their fish: “You catch ‘em, you clean ‘em”.
I can’t say I always appreciated Daddy’s hands. I recall one occasion when I failed to appreciate them. I had sneaked out my bedroom window to spend time with my friends. The sneaking out part was fine; it was sneaking back in that window that caused the problem. I remember Daddy peering over the window sill, holding out his hands and helping me in the window. I was not happy to see those hands that night. On that occasion, Daddy administered one of the very few spankings he ever gave me.
The words of a Holly Dunn timeless classis song never fails to remind me of my Daddy and his hands:
“Daddy’s hands were soft and warm when I was crying.
Daddy’s hands were hard as steel when I did wrong.
Daddy’s hands weren’t always gentle, but I grew to understand
THERE WAS ALWAYS LOVE IN DADDY’S HANDS”.
Yes, thanks to my Daddy I was always “in good hands”.
Betty Freeman Haines, an author and award winning columnist, lives in Mesquite, NV. Her books/e-books, Reluctant Hero and Grieving Sucks or Does It, can be ordered from amazon.com. Share your thoughts and opinions with her at firstname.lastname@example.org