Turkeys, Man Hands, and Remembering Dad

30 Nov

I have to agree with Garth Brooks … I’m too young to feel this damn old.

BenGay, Advil, and Sal de Uvas (a.k.a. the Latino world’s Alka-Selzer magic). All of these were a part of my life this week. Young people don’t feel the need to use these items in one week. However, they were my bare essentials everyday Thanksgiving week. I was thankful for Friday. My body was thankful.

Backaches, headaches, heartaches, and heartburn … you would think I was already pushing senior citizenship status. And my hands. Dude. My hands. In truth I would never be a hand model, and I was O.K. with that. But the fact that I had Man Hands this week made me little sad. Not just any Man Hands, but carpenter, fisherman, cracked, chapped, worn-out and in desperate need of that Neutrogena Hand Cream kind of Man Hands. Sandpaper Man Hands. But since Neutrogena was nowhere to be found at the CVS, I had to settle for Aquaphor.

Yeah. That was me. Beat up, tired, smelling of poultry and trying to fight back the effects of weather and age.

Thanksgiving week … it kicked my ass. It meant working at my Dad’s poultry shop without my Dad and surrounded by hundreds of boxes of Diestel Free-Range Turkey. Boxes that needed to be inventoried and moved. And inventoried and moved. And inventoried and moved. All in a 35 degree refrigerator weather. For all of you on The East Coast, that’s probably normal weather now. But for this Cali girl, that arctic environment wreaked havoc on my extremities. So much so that I didn’t even post regularly this week. My body gave in to sleep and a vegetative state on the couch.

The Gobble-Gobbles that created my Man Hands

The Gobble-Gobbles that created my Man Hands

The Gobble-Gobble Madness took it’s a toll.

But not everything was back-breaking work. Looking at my worn out hands made me think of my Dad and all the years he spent at the shop, all the years with his awesome knife skills and warm personality that could withstand even the bitchiest of customers. I remembered his hands, they looked nothing like mine, even though he worked harder than I did. He had not cuts and or need for Aquaphor. He was Dad.

I remembered his long white butcher coat and his white pants. I remembered his blue sweater vest that he used to keep himself warm, and the blue Diestel Turkey Ranch cap with the “Be Nice” button pinned on it. I remembered and it made sad. It made my heart hurt because my Dad, my friend, was longer there.

I never looked forward to working Thanksgiving week before because I knew how hard and cold it would be. I knew of all the details of inventory, and hours in the arctic temperatures. I knew what I would have to endure. But after my dad’s passing a couple of years ago, I think about it often and it’s not that bad any more.

Every day this week, I picked up his sweater vest from my closet, held it tight and then zipped it up. I opened one of his last bottles of aftershave and took a whiff. I grabbed his Diestel Turkey Ranch cap and put it on. Turned on his truck and drove to work. I didn’t mind coming home and smelling like poultry. I didn’t mind the inventory and tracking the 10-12, 12-14, 14-16, 16-18, 18-20, 20-22, 22-24, 24-26, 26-28, 28-30, and 30+ birds. I didn’t even mind the Man Hands I had acquired.

This just gave me a chance to be close to my Dad again. It reminds me of old times. It gave me a dose of an everyday-past that I didn’t know I would miss so much every year.

So at the end of the week,  I looked at my Man Hands, and remembered my Dad. He’d probably laugh and say … you should’ve worn gloves.

Ahhhhh. Dad. I miss you. I miss you much, my friend.


My Dad ... on one of the few days he wasn't wearing a cap.

My Dad … on one of the few days he wasn’t wearing a cap.




12 Responses to “Turkeys, Man Hands, and Remembering Dad”

  1. claywatkins December 1, 2013 at 7:16 AM #

    I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving – it is this time of the year when we remember family the most…. I remember Thanksgiving 1970 and watching the Detroit Lions vs. Oakland like it was yesterday… it’s funny how our memories work. Keep the hans, rember your dad. Have a great day.

    • The Guat December 8, 2013 at 7:17 PM #

      It is funny how certain things bring back a rush of memories. And yeah it is the time when you think of family that has passed and it makes you wonder. But you just have to keep remembering the good times like football and Man Hands. 🙂 Thanks for the kind words.

  2. brickhousechick December 1, 2013 at 8:15 AM #

    So very sweet, Guat! I miss my dad as well. Glad you felt close to him doing what he loved.

    • The Guat December 8, 2013 at 7:14 PM #

      Thanks chica for your support. I know you know how I feel so I appreciate the love and the kind words.

  3. John W. Howell December 1, 2013 at 1:15 PM #

    As a dad I would hope to have made such a positive impression on my children. Your story was beautiful and yes made me cry. You know the manly cry, “what. . . no. . . I think I have something in my eye.”

    • The Guat December 6, 2013 at 12:55 AM #

      Ha! Great to know that I inspire that I-got-something-in-my-eye moments. I’m sure your kids think of you in a special light as well sometimes it takes the post-teenage years to realize that. 🙂

  4. TBM December 2, 2013 at 5:37 AM #

    A wonderful post, dude.

    • The Guat December 6, 2013 at 12:50 AM #

      Thanks bud. Appreciate you stopping by, I need to get busy stopping by and checking everyone else’s posts. Life and exhaustion seem to win during the late night hours, but hoping to make up for it in the AM.

  5. Cayman Thorn December 3, 2013 at 5:36 PM #

    How eloquent and true, Guat. You and Dad were one hell of a team. Still are.

    • The Guat December 6, 2013 at 12:48 AM #

      Thank you my friend. It’s good to know that others can see what a good dad he was.

  6. Island Traveler December 4, 2013 at 3:20 AM #

    That is a heart-warming, inspiring tribute to your dad. A truly amazing man and dad. When things get tough I also remember my dad and how he dealt with the hardships of life. How he and my mom overcame their storms gives me the courage to overcome mine. Happy Holidays!

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