My Mother’s Hands

December 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

My Mother’s Hands


My mother’s hands smelled of Chlorox and Palmolive detergent.  I remember them fitting the seams of a dress on my young body.  They pulled and tucked and pinned, hand-pressing the material into proper folds and drapes.  They brushed lightly across my shoulders, straightening the cloth, tugging gently, and they tickled the backs of my knees as she knelt to mark a hem.

They stroked bold brushes of bright colored paints across living room and bedroom walls, unthawed frozen new born puppies cupping them gently, caressing them back to life in the warmth of a space heater.  My mother’s hands washed small babies, laundry, and growing boys, patted backs and swiped snotty noses.

They dug, planted, and clipped borders of pink and purple thrift, shelled pecans, beans and peas, husked corn.  They mixed and kneaded and baked, decorated birthday cakes, wrapped gifts and trimmed Christmas trees.

They tended old and dying bodies.  They arranged flowers for the graveside, set out platters of food, greeted friends and family with a gentle pat. They wiped our tears and folded in prayer at the close of each day.

Now, they’re spotted and wrinkled, gnarled and worn.  But the comforting scent of clean and of care remains. They lay folded across her body, nestled in white satin, a worn Bible clasped in one, in the other, a single rose.

Today my Mother’s hands are still.

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