I knew this day would come, but even in knowing I was not prepared for it to happen. I miss my father’s hands.
Gentle In All His Ways
Douglas Blades, known to his friends as Doug but to Charles and I, he was Dad. If you met our Dad you would remember that he was a tall man, gentle in his ways, that is until he wanted to make a point. Dad was known to be stubborn and opinionated.
I remember his hands as they were huge, they dwarfed mine. More than once Dad told me that as a boy in school he got the strap every single day. Maybe that toughened his hands. Or maybe they were tough from hitching the oxen up and walking behind them plowing the fields with his grandfather. Or maybe by hauling in the fishing nets and traps.
My Father’s Hands
My Dad always worked with his hands. He took me to the sawmill where he worked. I watched him turn the lumber over as it was driven into the saw. To this day I still love the smell of fresh cut wood. I think dad felt at home in the woods. He loved to hunt and fish, often spending time tying his own flies. I wondered how his large hands could handle the tiny instruments to make the flies. The only trout I have ever eaten is from my Dad catching them from a stream, not a fish farm.
After he started working for CNR I remember going to work with him and him climbing over stacks of ties and stamping the ones that were approved. He had strong hands to swing that stamp and embed the print into the ties.
Dad taught Crusaders. One of the badges the kids could earn was Knots. He was proficient at tying knots and if you were going to learn how to do it you might as well learn it right. After all, you want the knot to hold when you are done with it.
One of my fondest pictures is of my Dad carrying me into church as a little girl. I felt safe in his hands.
All my life Dad worked with his hands. Every spring he put in a huge garden and tended to it spending hours after work pulling weeds and hoeing the rows. Dad was generous. If you needed something and he had it than it was yours. Family, friends and those in need benefited from garden extras.
My father’s hands were consistent, whether raised in praise at church or folded in prayer at home.
Dad was my anchor. He was part of every major decision in my life. I sought his wisdom and approval. I wanted him to be proud of me. He prayed for all of us, our boys, and their children, asking God to bless and keep them. As Dad was faithful, I know God was faithful to him and answered those prayers many times over. Dad was immensely proud of his son, Charles, and his three grandsons, Cory, Jean Marc and Lukas. He loved talking with them and looked forward to their chats.
Dad loved the hymns and often listened to them throughout the day. Actually, he had little use for any other music. He loved his King James Bible and try as I might to get him to read from another version, he stayed true to King James.
My Dad was faithful throughout his life – faithful to my Mom, faithful to provide and to pray. We never had to worry about where the next meal was coming from or if we would have a roof over our heads.
How I wish I could put my hand in my father’s hands one more time and feel his fingers close over mine.
My brother, Charles and I along with our families want to thank you for honoring our Dad.
More About Doug – A Long Way From East Pubnico
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