Dad trying to keep warm

It’s been a bit chilly here lately, and when I stop to rub my hands together to warm them, I can’t help but think of Dad. I can still see a crystal-clear image in my mind of Dad standing outside our apartment building, before or after a smoke, and the dramatic way he would rub his hands together. “It’s cooold,” he would exclaim, though southern California winters were as mild as they could be, especially compared to his childhood in Belfast.


When my parents moved to the mountains of New Mexico, Dad experienced bitterly cold winters for the first time since his young adult days in England and New York City. I don’t remember him ever wearing gloves, but he would wear a big bulky jacket that threatened to swallow him whole. And I can see him standing by the car, the last one he would ever drive, and rub his hands together, fast and hard, trying to keep them from going numb.

My hands are always the first thing to ache when I’m out in cold weather. Still, I rarely break out the gloves. I just instinctively rub them together, though the warmth it generates may be more nostalgic than anything else.

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