Hard workin hands.
Logger man hands.
I remember how they felt around mine when I was seven, tagging along on his errands. I remember how they looked holding the whoopie pies I baked him, their smooth circles dwarfed by his huge fingers. All of his sons were big sturdy men with hands to match, but nobody had hands like Grandpa.
I watched them split wood and build fires, butcher meat, play cards, wield a hoe, catch walleye, and pop the best corn ever.
They thumped on his pulpit.
They steered his old Steiner around the yard, a grandchild perched on either side.
They sliced cheese and served customers alongside mine when we worked at the same bulk food store.
They covered mine and Ryan’s as he pronounced us man and wife.
He was crazy over fishing, Grandpa was. You take a grandfather’s boat, add a keg of minnows and an ice-blue wake, you get wind yelling in our faces and us yelling back into it for sheer joy, summer after summer. He grasped the rudder, handled the net, picked out pretty little lures for us so we’d catch the big one. We camped on Yutzy Island mid-day for a bathroom break and a packed lunch, our feet hanging in the water. In the evening we ate the rich catch, fresh-fried and crisp, our childish bodies swaying with weariness and the memory of the waves.
His hands were good at steering courses, filleting fish, and holding the happiness of small fry in safekeeping.
This week I will see them for the last time, the heartiest part of his shriveling body. The best part about Grandpa.
I can’t help hoping that on Resurrection morning, Jesus remakes them exactly the same.