The Hands Of Time

Though marred and calloused by years of hauling coal and ice in his first career, his hands were still nimble after years of barbering. I watched those hands fly over the heads of would-be “hippies” who had scored their first job interviews, and were gracefully turned into gray-flanneled businessmen within minutes. My childhood buddy who became a blacksmith can take a bar of raw steel and make beautiful decorative railings and fireplace tools.

The other day, my wife and I replaced her cell phone, and the technician tested, upgraded, programmed, and replaced it all in about two minutes. His hands just took flight over the keyboard, striking the keys with certainty.

I recall when I was 13 holding the hand of a girl I thought was special. We were watching The Sting at the movies with a group of friends, and once our hands locked, I was unable to eat my popcorn because one hand was in hers and the other had to steady the box. I’d pretty much lost my appetite by then anyhow.

I held my dad’s hand as he took his final breath on a hospital gurney when his heart gave out a dozen years ago. His ruby ring has been on mine since that night. It was the one his brother, my godfather, wore until his untimely death 17 years prior to my dad’s passing. It was hard to let go of that hand; sometimes I’m not sure that I have.

A Doctor’s Hands

But a year later, my newborn son wrapped his fingers around my thumb and bellowed loudly as he announced to the world he had arrived. An especially large baby, he had practically killed his tiny mother upon delivery, but again, the sure hands of Dr. Deepak Arora kept her safe and brought my son into the world.

A few years ago, she visited that doctor for annual tests. In the waiting room, I saw the walls covered with baby pictures. A picture of my son Sam and me hung in the center of the room with the accompanying letter that thanked him for saving my wife and bringing new life into our world. “Clearly, she was in good hands,” I’d written. Two years ago Dr. Arora made another impact when he detected signs of pre-cancerous cells in Cindy. After Cindy’s surgery, he saw me in the recovery area and, putting his hand on my shoulder, told me she was going to be fine. I was so grateful, and his strong, steady grip was so sincere, that heaved a big sigh. “You’ve saved her twice and brought life to my little boy as well. I can’t find the words to thank you.” He put a hand on each shoulder and looked me squarely in the eye. “You just did,” he said, and felt his hands squeeze my shoulders. I watched him walk away as he efficiently put the stethoscope into his lab coat pocket with his miraculous, healing hand.

Ron Ciancutti is the Purchasing Manager for Cleveland Metroparks. He can be reached via e-mail at

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  4. Let Freedom Ring
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