Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Telltale Hands

Hands tell everything.
I was sitting in Church beside my dad and comparing my hand to his.
Mine were small, white and smooth.
Unmarked by life and softly innocent.
His were large, square, calloused.
Scarred by barbed wire and by life.
Hands that had wrestled cattle and the occasional bronc.
Hauled hay and grain.
Twisted wire or pounded nails.
Smacked the occasional errant backside.
And tenderly held babies.
Hands that had accomplished something.
I measured my hand against his.
Would mine ever grow to be the same size?
I looked at my Mom's hands.
Long, tapered fingers with close-cropped nails.
Hands that scrubbed surfaces and small, wiggling bodies.
Punched bread and rolled out pie crust.
Cooked and stirred.
Gathered, sorted and folded.
Swept and cleaned.
Hands occasionally stained with ink from her writing.
And dirt from her gardening.
Scarred by her forays into the barnyard to help when help was needed.
Hands that soothed when others hurt and applied love and bandages in equal amounts.
And finally folded, blue-veined and fragile, over a still breast in peace.
Hands that had accomplished something.
Yesterday, my granddaughter was sitting next to me.
She placed her hand, soft, white and innocent, against mine.
"Will my hands ever grow as big as yours, Gramma?"
"Yes, dear. Certainly."
"I like to look at your hands, Gramma." She pointed. "What is this scar here?"
"Barbed wire, sweetheart."
"Did it hurt?"
"Probably. But not for long."
"You have lots of scars, Gramma."
"Scars are life, written in your hands," I told her.
"Oh." She turned my hand over. "Lots of scars."
"From doing things," I said.
I thought of the 'things' that my hands have done.
Cooked. Cleaned.
Baked. Sewed.
Wrestled cattle and chickens and pigs.
And small children.
Turned pancakes and pages.
Written.
So many things.
Wonderful things.
I smiled at my granddaughter. "Your hands will do things, too," I said. "Important things."
"Like yours?"
I nodded. "Like mine." 

13 comments:

  1. I bet you've planted the seed in your granddaughter's mind, now - what can I do with these hands? Nice post.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh gosh...another 'brings tears to my eyes' post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The best compliment of all! Thank you!

      Delete
  3. Beautifully sweet and endearing. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This was such a lovely story. I loved all the thoughts about hands. Hands do tell a story.
    Blessings for this sweet one!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is very moving, Diane. I don't know what else I can say about it. I look at my own hands which don't carry many scars, but the wrinkles of time and hard work are there. I like the mental pictures of you comparing hands with your parents, then your grand daughter comparing her own hands with yours. I hope that in time her grand daughter will do the same.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Just beautiful, Diane! Thanks for writing this.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hands are definitely beautiful things... mine are becoming like my grandmothers I noticed lately... :)

    ReplyDelete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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