They are spotted with sun and age, calloused by time. They sometimes seek a stronghold in a passing chair or countertop. After 85 years, the fingerprints are nearly worn off and the nails are beginning to buckle at the tips.
But they make a masterful tool of a dull knife as he nimbly peels every scrap of skin off the potatoes we are preparing for dinner. As we work, he tells the stories.
Those same hands stayed steady and true in the face of a world war battle.
They still, without fail, grasp the tools of the task at hand, be it hedge clippers for pruning a tree or a wrench for fixing the plumbing or a grease rag for tuning up the car.
And they have managed to hold on to the Bible and the same beautiful woman for 60 years.
By the time we are finished, his pile holds five times again as many potatoes as mine does.
I glance down at my own hands, youthful and smooth. On any give day, they quickly type out college papers. They carefully turn pages in books. They glide over piano keys.
But for now they are spent- trembling, nicked and nearly bloodied from my blundering scrapes at relentless potato peel.
I decide I still have a lot to learn from my grandpa's hands.