Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: FOLD (10/08/15)
TITLE: My Grandmother's Hands
By Jennifer Woodley
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With eyes closed, I dream back to days gone by when I was younger and she was alive - very alive. Gran was a woman who glowed with vitality, was graced with wisdom and gifted with the strength of an ox. A tall, robust woman who never shirked her work, but faced it with all the energy she could muster.
She lived the rhythm of a country life; rising early at dawn as the sun peeped up to welcome a new day; settling down early in the evening, not long after the first stars began to twinkle in the wide, night sky. Hers was a rigorous, demanding day, encompassing a vast landscape of manual chores. Yet she took them all in her stride, contentedly embracing her lot in her long, blessed life. I knew this, for I watched her often, loving to learn the ways of a farmer’s wife.
Mostly I remember Gran’s hands: brown, weather-worn and wrinkly, knotted at the knuckles, yet graceful, as her fingers where long and slender.
In the morning as the rising sun splashed over my sleepy face, I could hear Gran preparing breakfast. Those industrious hands were whisking eggs, beating batter, turning sizzling bacon strips, pouring juice into small glasses and tossing a bright tablecloth over the kitchen bench.
Throughout the working hours those worn hands were flying furiously. Hurried hands hung washing, scrubbed floors, planted seedlings, fed chickens, baled hay and milked cows. I know for I wandered behind, sometimes a helper, sometimes a hindrance under her feet, before welcoming hands deposited me in a safer spot.
As the shadows lengthened, Gran’s hands settled into a slower pace, recognizing the approaching Time of Rest. Her hands gathered dirty plates and washed them clean, mended Grandpa’s torn pants and poured steamy tea into old-time, favorite mugs.
But there is one activity that my Gran’s good hands did that I remember most. At bedtime she would settle into a comfy chair and gather me up into her lap, enfolding me in her gentle hands. Here she weaved stories across the fabric of my imagination – stories of her childhood in a time long ago. Those stories, like her hands, folded me into her adventures until I became one with them. Were those fabulous tales part of my childhood or hers? I hardly know.
Tucking me into bed, she would sit beside me, teaching me to gather my hands together with hers; my small, chubby fingers folded together with her long, loving ones. Then she would teach me how to pray and to remember that when she was gone, to be brave, for there is One always folding her in His arms listening to her prayers.
Tonight I sit beside Esther, our youngest granddaughter, repeating the ritual my grandmother and I enjoyed together. With fingers folded we pray, and I remind this little one, that when I am gone, to be brave, for there is One who folds her close in His arms, listening, loving and leading her prayers.
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