This week's assignment is to write a short piece, either fiction or non-fiction, about something ugly - and find the beauty in it.
They were ruined. Bent and gnarled and covered with brown spots, Grandma's hands were ruined. Arthritis had eaten away at the joints, a fall had damaged her wrist, years of toil had roughened and chapped her hands until there was nothing feminine left to see in them.
Once, they were the strong and unyielding hands of a determined young woman. They were hands that had lifted her firstborn baby, dead from diphtheria, from his crib. They were hands that had scraped together meals during a starving time and then rejoiced when peace came. She had dipped her hands in a bucket of soda-ed water to scrub floors so many times that they were permanently red. As she aged, the skin had thinned so much that the slightest scratch made a gash which left a scar.
If Grandma held her hand up to you in warning, it looked as wide as a door and twice as hard. (She never did spank me, though.) If she shook a finger at you, that crooked digit waving in the air shamed you into "behavior".
But when she held my infant son, her first great-grandchild, her sure touch and loving, gentle tenderness made her hands beautiful again. When I was a child and she used her work-wearied hands to guide my own hands to knit a stitch, or to dredge smelts in flour, or to squeeze butter cookie dough from the cookie press, her long-fingered, reddened hands were beautiful.
When I was a bride and she held my hand to see my wedding ring, the soft stroke of her hand on mine was filled with joy for my happiness. The beauty of her came through her touch and filled our hearts. Her patience and wisdom could be found in her teaching hands. The knowledge of a lifetime was seen in her busy hands, accomplishing her tasks. The love that she felt for all of us was easy to see in the delicate touch of her hands.
The day came when her hands were too worn out to even hold a book. I saw her in the nursing home. I sat next to her bed she beckoned me closer. I placed my hand on her blanket and looked into her ancient face, smiling. And on my own young, hard-working hand, she laid her ragged, sore, withered and beautiful hand.
Always, feel free to comment! Trish in AZ