Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hands

My Dad's hands. And Mine.
Look closely. They tell you everything.

Hands tell everything.
I remember 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.
Prayed.
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.
Prayed.
Hands occasionally stained with ink from her writing.
And also 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.
Important things.
I smiled at my granddaughter. "Your hands will do things, too," I said. "Important things."
"Like yours."
"Like mine."

12 comments:

  1. So beautiful..the words and the hands, both scarred and innocent.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Lovely. I like looking at generation hands. Or, a generation thing that also gets me--a little boy walking away beside his father. The gait is always identical1

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So agree, Joanne! I love any sort of 'generational thing'!

      Delete
  3. I love reading your posts. My Grandmother once told me I was born at the wrong time. I use to love hearing her stories of time gone by. I will continue to read yours. Thank You

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so like you. I love, love, love stories of bygone days. They seem . . . softer somehow!

      Delete
  4. I remember my Nana looking at my hands when I was a young woman. She sighed and told me I had peasant hands and would never have money.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'Peasant hands'? To me that would just mean sturdy hands that were made to work. And work is what's fulfilling. Money doesn't matter!

      Delete
  5. Well you made me cry here.lol
    I can so dearly relate to this post .
    I used to look at my Fathers hands. He was also into everything like your Dad. These were all good hard working people.
    And now we also have hands etched with scars and deep lines.
    Hands which are always busy doing things. I look back and think no one will ever understand how much work hands do from birth to the day you die.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so right! When you think about it, hands are busy from morning till night from birth till death. They do a lot!!!

      Delete
  6. Oh, this post is so beautiful! It brings a tear to my eye and makes me feel a little sentimental when I think of all the hands that have touched and blessed my life. Thank you for sharing this tender moment you shared with your granddaughter! One more reason I am excited for the day to be a grandmother. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ginger, you will love it! All the joys of parenting without any of the nastier jobs! :) And I have a thing about hands. There are so many that have touched my life!

      Delete

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