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Mama Deb
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December 2010
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Mama Deb [userpic]

This morning, I read a description of a background character that said she had "hands that did more than press buttons." And it got me thinking about hands. That and the fact that sometime last week, I injured my right middle finger. I don't know when or how, but it's painful and slightly swollen. I think I must have sprained or jammed it. Cold feels really good. Anyway, it's made me more conscious of my hands.

Hands can be accessories (as in my poll about manicures/pedicures) or they can be tools, or they can be both. Mine are tools. They're small and square with stubby fingers and short fingernails that can't stay clean more than an hour or so - elegance is beyond my, er, grasp. And I do mean small - I cannot hold a roll of paper towels without discomfort.

However, they're also strong. I can open those jars that fit in my hands, I can loosen a stiff neck, I can break things. If you give me the proper knife, I can prepare any amount or size of vegetables, from huge yams to tiny cloves of garlic, and I can take a chicken down to meat and bones in fifteen minutes. I can knead bread when I choose to do so. I can fix a paper jam in a copier or printer.

I have other skills - I can sew on a button or baste a hem, and I was taught to knit and crotchet and do cross-stitch and needlepoint. I can touch-type. I can tie a scarf. I can put together a piece of furniture.

But as tools, they're coarse. I lack the control to do delicate work - I *can* do needlework, but the stitches are all different sizes and tensions, just like my handwriting. I'm good at knifework when it needs strength, but don't ask me to slice bread. I can make bread, but not pie crusts or hamentashen. My hands are covered with old burns and cuts. I can hurt someone accidentally because I squeeze too hard.

They're like the rest of me, I think - skilled in some areas, but clumsy in social interactions and doing things I don't always mean for them to do, and overpowering in places where they shouldn't be.


What popped into mind:

Brenda Sutton's "Mama's Hands":



Sherwood Anderson's "Hands":


Mama's hands

They're not, you know. My mother has long, slender fingers, and a different skill set. She can't open jars and she doesn't slam through carrots and onions, but she knits and crotchets with precision and elegance - she has the fine control I lack. These are *my* hands.

But, yes, I do talk with them.

(no subject) - (Anonymous)

I learned how to drive on an automatic - I've never driven a manual. This is the norm, at least in New Jersey.

But there are many things that need a gentle touch that I had to train myself to do.