I remember as a little kid of about three or four, looking at my dad’s hands and wondering why they looked the way they did. My hands were smooth, his were not. After I got a little older, I realized it was because he worked for a living and that’s how working hands look.
But even after I’d been working for a while myself (still as a kid), my hands didn’t look nearly as callused or weathered as his. I used to check my hands at night, especially after a particularly hard day’s work, and though it seemed they should be developing calluses and toughening up, they never really matched my dad’s hands. I decided it was because he must work more than I did. A LOT more, apparently. After all, he was always working on something. Me, I spent a lot of time playing. Still, I wanted my hands to look like that.
As a teenager, they did develop a few calluses and become a little rougher, but nothing like my dad’s. In school, I learned that due to genetics, eventually my hands would inevitably have many of the same features as my father’s. But I figured that was only referring to size and shape. Besides, by then, I had given up on the idea my hands would ever look like his.
Life went on and I grew up, and continued working—and aging. I’m not sure when it happened, but one day, I noticed my hands had the same weathered look as my father’s when I was a little boy. Of course, by this time, his hands were obviously well beyond where mine were. Still, my hands had become like his were when I first noticed them. I had inherited his hands! Or, not.
Although I’m sure genetics played a role, I knew I hadn’t actually inherited his hands. Instead, what he’d given me was a work ethic. That, combined with time, and I suppose a little due to genetics, had given me my dad’s hands.
Since that epiphany, I’d pretty much forgotten about it—until recently. Over the Christmas holiday, my son was home for a few days, and I noticed his hands were starting to take on the same look. Apparently, I passed the working thing on to him as well—and the hands. Hope he doesn’t mind.
The Cock Of The South