Our hands – the crinkled skin, the lines, the wrinkles, the visible protruding veins – show our age. They display the “wear and tear” of living. As we age, our hands carry with it years of wisdom, love, heartbreak, pain, joy, and every physical and emotional feeling. They celebrate life. My late Mother’s hands functioned as a Mother, grandmother, a great grandmother, and a great – great grandmother. Four generations, she lifted us. She was our family’s matriarch; an extraordinary strong colored woman, and when she was alive, we rallied around her in groves. Her arthritic hands prepared dishes that no one can duplicate. Her fried chicken, pound cake, sweet potato pie, and dumplings were so tasty that you would lick the bowl. Cooking was her thing! Everyone wanted her recipes.
There was so much that the lines in her helping hands told us and so much that they didn't reveal!
To make ends meet, her hands with hard callouses once picked 200 pounds of cotton a day in the scorching Mississippi fields. Those hands cooked meals in White folks' kitchens and came home and cooked in hers. Those hands made a way out of no way to feed and educate three children. As she aged, those hands noticeably trembled as she gripped the skillet to make sure that she cooked everyone's favorite dish. Yes, those old tired wrinkled hands gave my family and me so much love, courage, and strength. We respected those hands and would not dare cross her because her strong hands, even in her 90's would discipline you with a back hand lick! Whether we called her Momma, Madear, Grandma, or Big Mama (depending on the generation), her hands carried and lifted us as we shared with her the weight of our problems seeking her wisdom and advice. We couldn't wait to talk to her. Since she didn't judge (which was why she was so effective), we shared even the intimate and crazy details of our life; all of us! Her advice always made our crooked road straight. I don't know how she did it! Clearly, she was our Dr. Phil though she never step foot in a college. Never too busy, she listened; she advised. Although her hands had seen so many hard times; many stories that would make your hair raise, what amazing strength and wonderful touch her soft hands had! She encouraged us and said, “Your weight ain’t that heavy. I can hold it. Now sit down, hold my hand, and tell Big Mama all about it!” And we did! And she listened! And she prayed with us. And we left better than we came! Yes, we were blessed to have her! We were blessed to be held by such strong hands that never let us down. We are now blessed to carry the torch of her memories; her God centered advice. Here again, I don't know how it happened, but she miraculously through her wrinkled old hands planted in the crevices of our hearts ... everlasting remnants of what she taught us! Photo credit: www.crossroadsusa.org