July 23, 2011


Elizabethtown, PA

Where:  Living room of my parent's home.

When:  Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

Sound:  I can hear the faint voices of my better half and mom in the computer room as they try to figure out how to download some archival family photos from a CD onto her computer.  Where I sit, I hear pictures shuffling and I swear I can almost hear my dad's "grin" as he examines certain photos.  The corners of his mouth inch up even further when the pictures are of his brothers, sisters, and most particularly....his father, who passed away when he was still a teenager and was pretty much a mystery to me until these boxes of photos came into our lives.

Smell:  Aroma of old photos stored in boxes, a "mustiness" of sorts.

Wearing:  A smile.

Feeling:  Physically...hot, hot, hot!  In the midst of a heatwave.  Thermometer on the car ride up displayed the God-awful numbers of "103".    Emotionally...very happy I made the 2-hour trip to mom and dad with the boxes of photos.

Pondering:  HANDS!  It seems to be a topic of discussion lately between my mom and myself.  I HATE my hands.  Nothing against my mom BUT...they are my mom's hands, and my Oma's hands.  Through maternal bloodlines I have been blessed with the hands of an 80-year-old East German woman...ever since I've been 20!  People think I am joking when I say I want a hand-transplant...but I have a secret fund.

As I sit cross-legged on the floor I look up at my dad sitting in the chair next to me.  His hands are holding stacks of yellowed photos,  many that are older than himself.  I remember that as a child I thought his hands were huge and strong.  Nobody had a dad with hands as forceful and talented as my dad.  A baseball and bat, a gun and badge, a judge's gavel,  and various pens and inks have all found a home in their grasp. His hand was the first male's hand I ever held as he let me stand on his feet and danced me around the room.  They were the hands that gave me such a whirling dervish spin around the backyard that when he let me go I stumbled like a drunk, collapsing onto the grass watching the white clouds dance circles in the blue sky above me.  They were the hands that built a skating rink in my backyard for the best Christmas morning surprise EVER.  I STILL have no idea how he pulled that one off!  They are also the hands that found their way to my backside when I did wrong.  Not in a mean and cruel way, but in what is now deemed a politically incorrect old-fashioned spanking.  Yes I feared those hands at times.  Not because they hurt physically, but because it hurt emotionally knowing I  disappointed him by my actions.  But more often, they were the hands that wiped away my tears, assured me everything would be okay, and gave me the best hugs.  Today they don't seem quite so big and strong, but they STILL give the best hugs.

Hands, they are the tools that allow us to reach out to grab life, and to embrace it.  Have you taken a look at those around you lately?

Have a great weekend!


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