A Slice of Life


My Own Slice of Life on Hands

I have very clear pictures in my mind of certain people’s hands. It seems odd to me but at different times in my life I can picture different people’s hands. For example, I can picture my Grandpa’s hands so clearly even though I haven’t seen them in many years. Two fingers shorter than the rest because of an accident, a cigarette in between his fingers, wrinkled knuckles, working hands, tired hands. I can picture a pastor’s hands, Pastor Reed, specifically at a wake for one of my grandparents. He apologized for coming so late and put out both of his hands, palms turned upward. I remember studying them for that split second. I can still see them today. I have no idea why certain images like these have stayed with me. I know that my Grandpa was always working so if I was around him I was probably watching what he was doing – hammering, drilling, building, smoking, touching the back of his hand to his forehead, always using his hands. I never paid attention to the pastor’s hands during church services but I will never forget his hands at the wake. I can’t figure out why.

So I started thinking about my parents’ hands. The ones that held mine as a child. My dad’s working hands, know how to fix everything hands, holding tools hands, opening jars hands, catching a ball hands, holding his pipe hands, rough hands, pinch my face hands, hold my kids’ hands. Then there are my mom’s thin hands, with pink polished nails hands, smell like lotion hands, doing the dishes hands, holding a baby bottle hands, rings on her fingers hands, holding my kids’ hands.

And then the most precious hands. Johnny’s grasping toys hands, pulling on my hair hands, rubbing my husband’s beard hands, touching the side of my face hands, holding on to my hand when I help him hold his pacifier in his mouth hands, with a thin line to separate his arm from his hand because a wrist is not yet visible, chubby-sweet-little hands holding my hand. And Evie’s expressive hands, used when she tells me a story a sings a song hands, finger nails polished – “colors please mom” hands, bracelets dangling from her wrist, raising her hands up to me to ask me to “hold you me please mom” hands, thanking God for everyone that she loves folded in prayer hands, chubby-sweet-little hands holding my hand.   



Comments on: "Hands" (3)

  1. Jill, this is so precious. I could feel the warmth in your writing.

  2. It’s interesting and so cool how you moved through the generations of your family. I love your vivid descriptions- I could picture each loved one, feeling their personalities shine through with the actions of their hands. I too, and an odd hand observer. There are certain people, some still alive, but others that have passed away.. that I specifically remember their hands- even down to how they held a french fry or ate their food. Your piece is a perfect example of noticing the details and drawing out the beauty and meaning.

  3. I will never think of hands the same again. Your post raised my awareness that I should pay more attention to hands-they tell someone’s story…I thought about my grandpa’s hands, my grandma’s hands (which I’ve sliced about before), my dad’s, my mom’s, my husband’s and my own children’s hands as I read about yours…thanks for this slice!

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