Thursday, December 6, 2007

Grandpa Joe's Hands

When I was writing the fan fiction "His Hands," I had two of my favorite men on my mind. My Grandpa Jack and My Grandpa Joe. The character and description of how I saw Tony (in the fan fic) in later years was really how I saw my Mother's father, Jose "Grandpa Joe." This is the story as I imagined it should be for a non-Who's the Boss?" audience. Because of the two important men in my life who influenced this story, this story is decicated to them.

Grandpa Joe's Hands by Ilda Jensen Spurgeon

Maria sat so close to Jose. He had his eyes closed. He looked so much older now. The deep wrinkles had taken hold of his cheeks. His smile seemed to be permanently engrained on his face. The little hair he had left had a lot more gray now. It suited him.

So much time had passed. That day when they met in that small courtyard in Mexico seemed like just yesterday. Life had been good in the Zuniga household. How many kisses had they enjoyed? How many quiet moments had they shared since the day they were married? They had taken love by the reins and gone at full speed. The few days they had spent finding their way to love now just seemed like a raindrop in the ocean.

Maria looked down and realized she still had Jose's hand in hers. Those hands were the few things about Jose that really did look his age. How worn they were, calloused and spotted. She softly ran her finger over every wrinkle and knuckle.

Maria closed her eyes as she slowly brushed his hand across her face. Even now she couldn't help but get a little choked up at the memories that flooded in. How he had had to run from her brothers, who had threatened to beat him up. The train engines he'd ridden when he worked on the railroad. The houses they had built together. The day at their wedding, when he had taken her hand in his and had placed the simple band on her finger. She thought of how he had carried so many of his grandchildren when they were too tired to walk. He had brushed their cheeks with his fingers, the first time he had held each of them. Even in his eighties, he was still out digging holes to repair a broken pipe or giving their daughter, Adelita, help on the fixer upper she'd bought.

Looking down at his hands, she had to admit they were her favorite thing about him. They, along with him, had been strong when she needed them to be and soft and gentle, at times too. They had had their share of trouble, like any other couple. Early in their marriage they had lost a daughter. The pain of her loss had been overwhelming and Jose was there with his big strong arms to hold her tight enough to squeeze the pain away. She gave his hand a good squeeze and carefully brought it up to her face to kiss it.

Angelica, their oldest daughter, came in walking behind her with her husband, Darwin. "Mom, are you ready?"

"Yes," she said as a tear trickled down her cheek. It had been one of many that had fallen that day. She took her Kleenex and softly wiped her face. "Will you help me stand up?"

Angelica folded up the foot rests on Maria's wheelchair, while Darwin helped to lift her to her feet.

"He looks so handsome." She lovingly took the hand she'd been holding and placed it on top of his other one. Ever so gingerly, she leaned down and kissed him. How many kisses had that been? She struggle to put a number with the moment and then, resolved that it would never be the last one.

Darwin helped her back into her chair. She brought her finger to her lips and kissed it. She brushed her kissed fingers on the back of his hands.

"I'll see you soon, sweetheart, " she said as Darwin and Angelica wheeled her out of the room.

There had been a man and a young girl standing in the corner, who had been quietly watching this loving exchange. They watched as the director walked over to Jose, got him for the service and closed the lid.

“Do you think she’ll be okay, Daddy?” the little girl said. She was standing dressed in all white looking up at her father.

The man seemed taller than he had been in life. He looked 28 years old with a full head of dark brown hair. Like his daughter, he was dressed in all white. He wore a beautiful double breasted suit.

“Of course she will," he said with a smile. "She takes after you.”

Arm in arm they disappeared out the door.

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