My Grandfather's Hands

Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you and describe that influence.


My grandfather’s hands hardly appeared photogenic. They were red, cracked, and rough, and they often bore cuts and scratches from whatever mechanical object he had last worked on. I knew those hands from an early age. They used to slap my back as soon I stepped out of the minivan and onto his driveway. I never cringed, and I never had to look to see who was the perpetrator. “Hey there, troublemaker! I hear you’re failin’ all your classes!” he would say. I would flash him a wide grin, missing ‘theeth’ and all, and allow him to wrap me in a bear hug, fully smothered by his 6’2” frame and the overpowering scent of Old Spice. My grandmother would stand by the door sending a disapproving look his way. Though she hated my grandfather’s teasing, I knew it was his subtle (and only) way of praising my accomplishments.

My grandfather was, after all, a subtle man. He didn’t need words to express his feelings about something (with the exception of his teasing and his all-too-frequent jokes at the dinner table, which my family secretly thought were hilarious). Rather, it was through his actions that I could tell that he truly loved my family. Whenever my grandmother and I played flute and piano together in the front room of their house, he...

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