Sunday, June 15, 2008

For My Dad

My Father

The memory of my father is wrapped up in
white paper, like sandwiches taken for a day at work.

Just as a magician takes towers and rabbits
out of his hat, he drew love from his small body,

and the rivers of his hands
overflowed with good deeds.

~ Yehuda Amichai
Translated from the Hebrew by Azila Talit Reisenberger

and the rivers of his hands overflowed with good deeds.
That single, poetic phrase captures my father completely. It is exactly my Dad.
If I had pictures enough of his hands, the mosaic would look something like this:
  • hands, folded in prayer
  • hands, childish, but uncomplaining in care for an invalid mother
  • hands, snapped to attention in a salute for more than 20 years
  • hands, filled with affection and contentment, resting on my mother's knee while he drives
  • hands, tickling my brother and I as we roll around on the floor, weak with laughter
  • hands, pumping gas at midnight, so his teenage daughter won't have to get up early to stop for gas on her way to school
  • hands, holding up wedding rings just before he pronounces both his children, and their new spouses, man and wife
  • hands, carrying his worn Bible to the pulpit as he goes to share the Good News
  • hands, cradling his infant granddaughter, as he prays a blessing on her life
  • hands, placing Scrabble tiles as he attempts to trounce his son-in-law
  • hands, holding a book as he reads aloud to me, to my brother, to his granddaughter
  • hands, reaching out in greeting to his students in Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia, Russia, Finland, Guyana, Belize, Thailand, Indonesia, Mongolia

Hands. My Dad's hands. Offering, by example, lessons in how to live. Offering love. Offering affection. Offering help to all who have need.

Open hands. Always offering to serve. Always offering love.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy. I love you.

The photo above is of my father's hand during my brother's wedding last October. It was taken by my Aunt Rita.


TheElementary said...

I have read a lot of Yehuda Amichai's writing and love it. I am pleased to see some here!

I think the tribute to your father is worthy of printing out and framing, keeping on your wall. It's beautiful.

Jaime said...

This is such a beautiful tribute to your father...and what a lovely concept..his hands! LOVE IT.

He sounds like a wonderful man.

tangobaby said...

What a glorious post. I can only imagine what joy you must bring him, and how much you are loved.

dutchbaby said...

This beautiful glimpse of your father enlightens us how your gentle soul came to be.

Oldies, but Goodies