Monday, January 28, 2013

Grandma's Hands

In 1971 the legendary singer/songwriter Bill Withers released the song “Grandmas Hands”.

I was listening to the song over the weekend and a whole raft of memories of my Grandmother came rushing back. I wrote last year that I hadn’t yet figured out how to process her death and I still don’t think I have. But there have been small steps in that direction and they’ve come from a place I didn’t expect. Sports.

My Grandmother, Elanor Turretto, was an athlete as a young lady. She loved the game of tennis and played in High School and through her 20’s. I remember that she never missed watching Wimbledon, The US Open and thought the French Open was silly and that it was held in too high a regard given that the clay court was so different from the surface that players usually trained and played on.

She loved team sports too especially the 49ers and Giants.

I was in 1st or 2nd grade when I was surprised one morning at school by the appearance of my Grandmother at my classroom door. I don’t recall how she’d gotten them, probably from her boss at Tarlow’s Furriers in Santa Clara, but she had a pair of tickets for a “Businessman’s Special” at Candlestick. She was taking me to my first Baseball Game and it was to be a secret. It’s a secret we shared without anyone ever finding out until…well…now. So if either of my parents happen to read this, now you know.  

I remember every detail of the first game I ever listened to on the radio as chronicled ( HERE ) but I can't recall a single thing about this game. I have no idea who the opposing team was, who pitched or even if the Giants won. All I remember is how special it felt to be getting away with something by playing hookey with Grandma. I remember Grandma’s hands on the wheel of her 1968 Camaro (which I now own). I remember Grandma’s hands handing me my first ballpark hotdog. I remember Grandma’s hands zipping up my jacket against the chill at the park. I remember Grandmas’s hands holding mine as we dodged cars in the lot at Candlestick.

She was sitting in her wingback chair and I was sitting on the floor leaning against her knees in on a Sunday afternoon in 1982. With my entire family in the room, only she and I were paying attention to Vin Scully and Hank Stram calling a playoff game between the 49ers and Cowboys. Joe Montana rolled right, pump-faked and then slung the ball high and deep into the end zone and I remember, more than anything else the feeling of anticipation and anxiety being transmitted to me through Grandmas hands grasping my shoulders.

I was running off the field with the rest of the team after a game and I remember Grandma’s hands grabbing the sleeve of my jersey to congratulate me and the joy on her face when she’d watched me score my first touchdown in High School.

I remember Grandma’s hands touching mine as she told me how proud she was of me when I joined the Military.

I remember Grandma's hands touching my wife Kathy's the first time they met.

I remember Grandma’s hands in mine as she asked me to take care of Grandpa and did her best to comfort me just minutes before she passed away.

1 comment:

  1. WOW! Beautiful. I remember them holding mine at Kennedy Meadows as she braved a thunderstorm which scared her to death, as she taught me not to fear them.

    I remember holding her hand and being amazed at how something could be so soft....and I remember the feel as my fingers traced hers, and went over great grandma's ring, and back down. I miss those hands.