Monday, April 11, 2011

Capable Hands

When I was a small child, I loved to sit with my grandmother and hold her hands.

Her hands were thin and worn, bearing the evidence of much hard work. I particularly liked how the veins stood out along the backs of her hands, how her rings fit loosely on the fingers, but wouldn’t slide over the slightly gnarled knuckles. There was a beauty in her hands, a sense of purpose in her grip. I wasn’t the only one who thought this. My grandfather, who was a sculptor among many other things, had once carved a copy of my grandmother’s hand, back when they were young, because he thought it was so beautiful. He had it for years, and it is one of the things I wish I had thought to request upon their passing.

My grandmother was born at the turn of the twentieth century, one of thirteen children, who knew more than her fair share of hardship. She was harsh and gentle, severe and kind. She loved me like no one else did, and I miss her to this day.

In our times together, she would take my small hand in hers, matching the fingers, tracing the lines. Every time she would say, “such capable little hands, Dolly…such capable little hands!”

This irritated my mother, who took the comment to mean that it appeared that I would have to work…to do menial labor (something my mother saw as beneath her, I suppose). But, I found it challenging, exciting….It sounded like Granny thought I could do anything! That seemed wonderful!

Lately, when I’ve looked down at my own aging hands, I see purpose, I see strength, I see the fulfillment of Granny’s comments from long ago. Yes, I DO have capable hands! I’ve done all sorts of things using these hands in my life here on the farm. A challenge or hardship is met with the thought that “I can do this”…although, I admit, sometimes I do have to add….”I HOPE and PRAY!”

So, this one is a THANKS with love to Granny…although she’s been gone for a LONG time…she may well have molded my thinking for the rest of my life….just by holding my hands!

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