Thursday, September 01, 2005


For the last 30 or so years of his life (age 65-95) my Grandpa Hatch always wore a copper bracelet of some kind. He has some "Rheumatism", as he called it, in his left wrist. He felt that the copper helped alleviate much of the pain and stiffness in his joints.

At first, he just wore a piece of heavy duty copper wire around his wrist. It was about 1/8th of an inch thick. He just used a pair of wire cutting pliers, and twisted the ends together. Then he took a file, and filed off the sharp edges. It wasn't pretty, and it wasn't meant to be jewelry. It was just meant to be functional, and stay out of the way of his vigorous work.

Needless to say, he never took off his "bracelet", as it was now permanently attached. He wore that same piece of copper wire for several years.

After he sold the ranch he got a real copper bracelet, and wore it from then on. I remember it was a large linked bracelet.

The other day, when I was in the gift shop of the Bingham Canyon Copper mine, I saw a copper bracelet that reminded me of the one that grandpa used to wear. As the kids were looking for their trinkets, I put this one on, and it immediately reminded me Grandpa. I wore it for a few minutes in the gift shop, and it started feeling more and more comfortable to me.

I suffer from arthritis myself, although probably of a different form than he had. His was most likely Osteo Arthritis. Mine is called Psoriatic Arthritis. (Actually, there are over 100 different kinds of arthritis -- but that's another post for another day.)

Grandpa wore his copper bracelet to help control his osteo-arthritis. I don't know if it really worked, or not. Most medical professionals will tell you that it probably doesn't do much good. However, it doesn't do any harm either, so they usually don't get to adamant about it. Many people, anecdotally, will swear by it though. Grandpa was convinced that it helped him.

I decided to get the bracelet at the Copper Mine Gift Shop, not so much for its healing qualities, but rather for the qualities in Grandpa that he exhibited. If it has healing qualities -- great! But I'm not counting on it. Rather, I want the copper bracelet to serve as a reminder of the things that I learned at his feet. As I worked along side him each summer on his cattle ranch, I learned how to work, how to make decisions, how to be efficient with my time and resources. I learned to be honest, and give my best effort. I learned to be kind and generous to others, and to reach out to those who may be struggling. I learned that it was OK to have an opinion, and to express it.

Grandpa is gone now. The ranch is gone too. -- Oh its still there, but its no longer in the family. I have my memories, other family members, some photos and his personal history to remember him by. For me, the bracelet represents a touchstone, to help me check myself to see if I am being the kind of man that I should be. Am I, in turn, exhibiting those qualities that he stood for. The links of the chain, link me to him, and those who have gone before me. The links in the chain help me to want to honor them by living an honorable life, and being the kind of man that they would be proud of. Then one day, in the great beyond, I can joyously greet them, look them in the eye, and know that I have honored their legacy -- and stand with them in the halls of honor.

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