Monday, November 15, 2010

Daddy’s Hands

I remember Daddy´s hands, working 'til they bled.
Sacrificed unselfishly, just to keep us all fed.

Wow! My dad asked me to be his friend on Facebook. Who would have ever thought? Being the good daughter I am, I accepted. Facebook asked if I wanted to write on his wall and/or look at his profile. I click so I can write him a note to say hello. While I’m there I look around and see who his friends are and what he’s filled out on his profile. He’s added the usual information, his email, where he lives, his home town and his birthday. Wait! His birthday? There has to be a typo! According to what he’s filled out he will be 73 years old on November 15. How did he get to be so old? How did I?
My mom and dad just celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary at the end of October. That’s a long time. I remember my dad as a young mechanic, working at a car dealership. She stayed home with us. Mom would make his supper and we’d take it to him because he was working late, either on something of his or someone else’s.

My dad has loved cars for as long as I’ve known him. His interest began in high school if not earlier. He was fortunate enough to have a car to drive. He’d tinker with it and get it running just how he wanted. My mom said about that time my granddaddy would decide it was time for a new one. Granddad had this thing about getting new cars on a regular basis. Anyway, the new car would get there and dad would start again.

Ford is the only make of car there is as far as my dad is concerned. He worked at Ford dealerships almost exclusively. He won Ford mechanic of the year in 1970. He was one of the top 20 Ford mechanics in the country. He got a huge trophy and he and mom got to go on a cruise to Jamaica. It was a real honor.

Dad raced cars too. Of course they were always Fords. His racecars were always painted red and yellow. His number was 33. I don’t know how many he had through the years. We would go, every Saturday night, sometimes Friday too, and watch him race. He usually did pretty well.
One time he was in a bad wreck. It was around 1966. He rolled his car, six or so times, end over end down the track. He was in the hospital for a while. I was probably in the third grade. I wrote him a poem to make him feel better. It went like this.
 A Man Named James

There was a man named James.
Hot-rodding was his game.
He raced round and round that track,
Til he rolled and hurt his back.

He had to stay in bed.
His face turned mighty red.
He had to wear an icepack,
Right upon his head.

Soon he got better
And so did the weather.
Soon he got back
Right out on that track.

Said James, “Hot-rodding is my game.”
My mom told me years later that he’d carried that hand written poem in his billfold until it wore out.
My dad also competed in a couple of demolition derbies. The object is to have the last car running. Everyone in the event rams their cars into each other trying to knock them out of the competition. Dad knew all kinds of tricks. He was in one derby in Gallup, NM, somehow connected with the Navajo Indian Reservation. He won. All the little Navajo children were running around trying to get a piece of something off his car. They called him the “Demolition Derby Champion of the Navajo Nation”! He won a trophy and some kind of prize money.
Dad finally retired from mechanics. Sort of, anyway. He doesn’t do it as his job anymore. But he still plays with his cars. He got to build a garage/shop behind the house and he spends time out there, piddling, fixing things and just playing with his cars. He’s got a couple of vintage cars and even some motorcycles to experiment with. He’s set up some of his new trophies out there. He’s still winning them. He needs to set up some of the older ones and it will seem a little like a museum. It’s his history.
It’s hard to believe how the places in life have changed. The GKids are where my kids were, my kids are where I was, I’m where my dad was and my dad is where my granddad was, seems like only a few years back. My dad will always be my dad. And he’ll always have his cars. I guess growing older is mandatory, but growing up is optional. As long as he keeps playing with his cars he’ll be young forever.
If I could do things over, I´d live my life again.
And never take for granted the love in Daddy´s hands.

So what is knitayear? It’s a project I read about in a tweet. The recipe is basic; cast on some stitches, knit at least two rows every day using a color that fits your mood or feelings that day. If you want, you can journal or blog as a kind of documentation of your feelings, ultimately creating a personal record of the year. I thought it sounded interesting, so I decided I was going to do it. I thought about it. This idea could apply to anything that was of interest. If you read, choose a book and reflect after the amount you’ve chosen to read each day. Explore poetry and document your interpretation. If you like music listen to a new artist each day or a favorite song or a theme, like a song with Monday in the lyrics. Then reflect if you want. You could choose to try something new every day, a food, a project, an idea. You could take this idea wherever you wanted.

My daughter decorates cookies. Amazing cookies! When I first told her about my project I told her she could do it with cookies too. She started, but life, as it often does, got in the way. Now she’s started it again. If you want to keep up with her 365 days of cookies go to her blog,
Day 225, November 11, was a fairly easy day. I had a haircut which much improved my disposition and my looks for sure! I stopped by the homemade wine store on the way home and also finally got those pancakes I’ve been wanting. I chose brown fancy fur. The fur is my hair and the colored dots are happy dots! November 12, day 226, was another nice day. It wasn’t my day to work but I traded because I had to work Saturday. After I got to work I wished I hadn’t traded! But not many were here so it was an easy day, one I could catch up with. I did end up getting quite a bit done and was content with my progress. The yarn for the day was Hushabye in a color called crayon. It’s white with bright colored spots. Day 227, November 13 was Saturday and I had to work. It’s not hard work at all, it’s just the fact that it’s Saturday and I have to come in. My intern is a nice guy though, so I don’t mind. None of the other people working wanted to talk so I got some work and some knitting done. And we did get out early. I was industrious, getting some things I needed to finish, done. I chose yellow yarn because it was bright and seemed industrious. Day 228, November 14 was another productive day. I got a lot of things done around the house. I called home to wish dad a happy birthday since I would be out most of the day on his birthday tomorrow. I chose yarn called snowflake in apricot dream. It’s a pretty orange and turquoise yarn. November 15, day 229 is my dad’s birthday. He’s 73 years old today. It doesn’t seem possible he’s that old, or that I am! I went to Ft. Stockton for the day for work, with a few other people. Something happened and I feel let down, again. No particular reason I guess. Anyway, I did get to come home early so that was a benefit! I chose a maroon and dark blue sock yarn. It’s one that Junior tried to knit with. It’s dark, kind of fitting for the day. But it’s a happy day, still. Happy birthday dad!

But I´ve come to understand.
There was always love in Daddy´s hands.


  1. As usual, a lovely post. You're really good at expressing yourself, I wish I could write as well. Your Dad is quite the character! Great photos of his mechanical life. I love the red and yellow race car, I bet those were fun days.
    And your poem to him was brilliant, I bet he was so proud of it.

  2. @SweetSugarBelle...he sure was a skinny little guy back then, huh!

  3. @Sinéad...Thank you! That is very nice of you to say. He is/was a character! It's all about cars! Thanks on the poem, too. It's surprising the things that stay in your head, huh!