My Father's Hands

"Pap Pap", aka Grandpa Kosker, holding the hand of Hazel Mari.

One Veteran's Day during my adolescence, a strange man, a Veteran, called my house to tell J. Orris Sr. (my grandfather who was many years deceased) about what a wonderful (I'm ad libbing) man his son, J. Orris Jr. (my father), was. He had served with J. Jr. in Vietnam and figured that his friend's dad would be thinking of the son he lost in the war on this National Holiday.

CONFUSED? Yeah, so was I. Clearly, I am not old enough to have a father who was killed in Vietnam. It's a long complicated story, but suffice to say that there were many tragedies during Vietnam and things were often confusing. Amidst all of that, the men and women (ok, I have no idea if there were women there. I'm trying to tell a story and am taking some poetic licenses) serving with my dad thought that he was killed.

So, this poor Veteran is trying to figure out who this young-sounding girl is on the phone that is insisting that her dad is J. Orris (we don't use the Jr. part of his name). So, he went all Sherlock and Watson on me and asked (get ready... I'm almost to the point...): "ARE YOUR DAD'S HANDS HORRIBLY BURNED?".

Now, this should be a simple question and I am still teased mercilessly- MER-CI-LESS-LY- about this by my family, but I didn't know the answer. My dad's hands are rugged, he has a permanently crooked (as in both joints are bent at 90 degree angles) pinkie (that's a great story if you ever get him around a campfire), and they are humongous! So, are they burned? Well, maybe he's burned himself. He does have some scars and a gazillion callouses. Fortunately, I mentioned the infamous pinkie and this Veteran who has poor timing (I mean, he could have called when someone ELSE was home to answer his brain teaser questions), realized that his buddy was not killed (what an awesome discovery!!!) and even better- birthed a BRILLIANT AND BEAUTIFUL daughter. Yeah, I'm sure he didn't think that last part, but it's my story!

Did you miss the point? The point is that my father has incredible hands. As a kid, I was pretty sure those hands could make (or break- I get my klutziness from somewhere!) anything. Actually, as an adult I still think that. He's a mechanic, a wood worker, a musician, a builder, a back scratcher (though always a little grudgingly). I love his hands. They are really unique, strong, and have I mentioned- HUGE?

Now I have this brilliant, beautiful, perfect little daughter and I cannot WAIT to see my father's hands holding her. Of course I'm looking forward to him meeting her, but mostly, selfishly, I just want to see his hands on her.

Along a similar vein:
After watching "Mrs. Doubtfire" (let's have a moment of silence for that movie), I remember my mom saying that the movie was implausible because a wife would always recognize her husband's hands. In fact, my mom has recognized people simply by seeing their hands and before noticing their face or voice. So, I guess I get my love affair with hands from her.

On a similar note:
The toothless Native American who sold us 2 HUGE salmon the other day (don't think my car will ever recoup from that smell) looked at Hazel and promptly said to me: "she has your hands". I don't know how she noticed this so quickly, but I was THRILLED! Because it's one of the first things I noticed about her too (Hazel, not the Native). I'd say that my hands are my favorite part of my body and though my hubby has great hands, they are not feminine. I think the Doctor who delivered Hazel was a little off-put by my relief that she didn't have Jake's hands. I'm such a self-centered wife ;)

Finally, to clear-up any confusion you have about the photo and caption:
Yes, those are Hazel's other grandfather's hands. However, that pic made my yearning to see my father so strong that I just had to sit down and write this post. Pap Pap has great hands too!


  1. Why are my eyes all watery???

  2. Well, if that doesn't guilt Dad into a visit, I don't know what will. Great post, Jules. And I love your new blog-look!
    PS- True. Dad has great hands. . . for a man. I have his hands, almost exactly. It's not so beautiful on a woman, but at least my hands are strong.


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