We have all heard the saying- let’s give them a hand. Now I have lended my hands to those in need, those who needed an extra hand and even been told I have made a good hand. But these old hands have been through the wringer, abused, used, burnt, cut and beat. Shannon tells me, “You sure are hard on your hands, you reckon you might wear some gloves.” My dad told me once that a feller who wore gloves spent half his time looking for them and the other half putting them on or taking them off. So unless we are building fence, hauling hay or grabbing something hot it’s bare handed for me.
In my part of the world, a man was judged by his handshake. It had better be firm and real. No dead fish here. I get in trouble a lot when someone gives me one of those limp, near dead, fish handshakes. Shannon says don’t mash them. But if it’s not firm, sorry… I’m going to squeeze a little harder than usual.
My two hands have held babies, reins, saddle horns, Dutch ovens and carried important, sometimes valuable, things.The most important: my lady’s heart. She told me once, “I give you my heart to carry so don’t drop it.”
I remember my dads hands that were so rough and calloused yet soft, gentle and caring when they needed to be. My hands, I hope, are molded from his, not out of clay but out of hard work and determination filled with try and hours of work. His hands were massive and strong; appendages that stuck out of his arms and were an extension of his heart and the life he led.
My hands are like his in so many ways, hard, cracked, calloused tools that I use and abuse everyday. But when need be they are soft and gentle, caring and strong. They may seem like the first thing I greet you with but they’re just like my Dad’s. I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve, but on my hands.
With proper care and love I could turn them ole hands of mine into something nearly as soft as a babies butt, but they would have to tie me to the bed and keep me sedated for the rest of my life. I think I’ll just let my sweetheart care for them on occasion. A little lotion now and then and some everyday love.
Folks wouldn’t know me if my old hands were not as they are now. They will always be rough and most of the time burnt by ole Bertha, scarred and beaten by work and weather. And with these hands I will continue to offer a firm handshake, greet you with a smile and even tip my hat to the ladies.
It is said that a man’s hands can tell a story of his life, you know, like reading palms. Well if they can tell my story then I hope they tell of a feller who has worked hard, loved life and lived life everyday knowing that these hands can get me through a lot… especially when they have a helping hand, the hand of my wife Shannon.