Holly, and my Father’s Hand


August 30, 2019

Dear Editor,

Holding her hand as Holly draped her arm across my supporting shoulder; when taking now tall, blonde and leggy 20-year-old granddaughter Holly (has Nan’s looks) home from Melbourne’s, The Avenue Hospital a few weeks ago (after surgery on Holly’s badly smashed knee after playing in local women’s Aussie Rules footy).

I am reminded how as a then tiny three-year-old, Holly had traced the veins on the back of my hand. My hands may have the same shape as my late Dad’s, but that’s where the similarities end. My father’s hands had bits missing from fingers, fingernails missing and slivers of steel yet to be pulled out with tweezers by Holly’s great Nan.  Dad – who worked on an iron foundry – could turn his hand to just about anything:  fixing his car; mending shoes for a family of five; and Dad, liking a “roll your own” smoke, had such a wonderful smell.

Dear God, what I would not give to just once more smell and hear him saying: “That’s good, son.” And feel that wonderfully, affectionate squeezing of my shoulder from my father’s hand.


Howard Hutchins
Victoria, Australia



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