month 578

12 Jan

99205i like hands. baby hands to man hands to elder hands. i’m not sure why. on a frigid winter day when i was in 5th or 6th grade my family traveled from minnesota to south dakota for grandpa’s funeral. it is the first funeral i remember attending. i remember clomping down the stairs to the church basement so the pastor could talk to just us kids. i remember clomping because the stairs were not carpeted and my shoes were a little big on my feet (but they looked GOOD). as the pastor talked i remember repeating in my own head “i can’t hear you. you are NOT talking to me. i’m not really here” it’s a technique i’ve perfected and implemented since. i don’t remember grandpa’s hands that day. mostly i remember grandpa’s hands as he ruffled the fur on lady. lady was not grama lola. lady was a big white long haired dog. i don’t know what her parentage was. maybe she didn’t know either. it didn’t matter much. i remember grandpa sitting in the grass under the big tree playing with lady-teasing her and hugging her and ruffling her fur. imagine the chubby little patties here that grew up into man hands.

rosesmy dad’s hands looked a bit like grandpa dave’s. except tougher. harder. they were laborer hands. fingernails with permanent “lines” under them. my dad’s been gone a long time now. i can’t seem to recall the year but i remember the date. january 14. i have a box of his “stuff”. i started to go through it thinking i could find something that showed the year of his death. i stopped. maybe another day. there’s lots of photos in there that i’d like to look at closer. it’s hard to look through a box that used to contain 7 pieces of nonstick cookware and now contains what’s left of my dad.

about 10 years ago i was alone in my vehicle driving from somewhere to someplace else (not speeding because i don’t speed. and if i DO speed (which i don’t) it’s totally an accident. really). my head was filled with things that needed doing; appointments to make and then keep, places to be, people to see and just all the stuff that filled my daily life. i wasn’t particularly anxious about it, just “active” and wanting to tic things off the list. chop chop. things needed to get done and done by me. i felt a definite pressure on my left shoulder. a pushing down that made me turn my head and look for just a second at my shoulder. my dad’s hand was there gently but firmly pressing and squeezing my shoulder. i looked back at the road and then glanced back to my shoulder. the hand and pressure were gone. there was a point to this. a message. slow down. message received. it’s a tough message to implement. 10 years later i’m still speeding through life some days. i’m gonna try today to slow down.

img070feb 1956

funny how noticing dust on some old funeral roses led me to the box. you’re an odd one kay.


5 Responses to “month 578”

  1. Christine Olson January 12, 2009 at 10:01 am #

    Yes. Hands! I love them, too! Have been fascinated with hands since I can remember.

    For some reason your poignant entry today has hit a chord with me.

    Thanks for the moment.

  2. freda1951 January 12, 2009 at 10:02 am #

    I hope you enjoyed your trip down memory lane Kay. My Mothers life is 2 small boxes so I know how you feel.

  3. AllenQuilts January 12, 2009 at 11:22 am #

    It hit a chord with me. Two chords. First, my husband’s hands. I love them, love to look at them, love the feeling of security I get from them. To me, they are one of the sexiest things about him. I know those hands will catch me, no matter what. The story about your dad hit another. I have a similar story, but it involved my granddad. Thanks for making me think about it again.

  4. sybil January 12, 2009 at 2:48 pm #


  5. Cynthia January 27, 2009 at 10:12 pm #

    My sister sent this to me. It included the greatest b&w photo of mulit generation hands. Thought you’d enjoy it too.

    Grandma, some ninety-plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. She didn’t move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands.

    When I sat down beside her, she didn’t acknowledge my presence, and the longer I sat I wondered if she was okay. Finally, not really wanting to disturb her, but wanting to check on her at the same time, I asked if she was okay.

    She raised her head and looked at me and smiled.
    “Yes, I’m fine; thank you for asking,” she said in a clear, strong voice.

    “I didn’t mean to disturb you, Grandma, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands, and I wanted to make sure you were okay,”
    I explained to her.

    “Have you ever looked at your hands,” she asked, then continued, “I mean really looked at your hands?”

    I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. “No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands,” I said, as I tried to figure out the point she was making.

    Grandma smiled and related this story:
    “Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled, shriveled, and weak, have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life.

    “They braced and caught my fall when, as a toddler, I crashed upon the floor. “They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. As a child, my mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled
    on my boots. They held my husband and wiped my tears.

    “They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent. They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son. Decorated with my wedding band, they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special. They wrote my letters to him, and they trembled and shook
    when I buried my parents and my spouse.

    “They have held my children and grandchildren, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn’t understand.

    “They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. And to this day, when not much of anything else of me works real well,these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.

    “These hands are the mark of where I’ve been and the ruggedness of life,” Grandma concluded.

    I will never look at my hands the same way again.
    When my hands are hurt or sore, or when I stroke the face of my children and husband, I think of Grandma.
    I, too, want to touch the face of God and feel His hands upon my face.

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