Mississippi Moments

Friday, November 10, 2006

I have it ALL....and Mammo's hands....
I am blogging this as the kettle heats up for my third cup of coffee on this amazing cold, wet, wondrous November day.
I am drying off from my first real bath in over a week. Thanks to Uncle Ron for showing me how to relight the pilot light on my water heater without fear and for Aunt Donna for insisting that he teach me how to do it not just do it....whenever it storms and the rains blast sideways, it floods the water heater and voila, no l'eau chaud. Thank goodness I know now what it is that's wrong and how to find suport to fix it. Next time, I can do it myself. (Picture a 3 year old putting on underwear inside out -same tone of voice)... It happened on Christmas Eve last year and I was mad about it. It set me up to stay in for the entire day and hang out with my Fiona and bake and quietly wait for a very expensive visit from the Gas Company Guys to relight it. They also told me how to add a little cover outside the vent thingie for about $5 in lumber and 3 screws. I just forgot about it this summer. I wasn't home much and I certainly wasn't AT home here. Ask me if I am mad now about that happening on that day and I had to spend the entire time with my Beloved Fiona on Christmas Eve.. the same day she came into my life 15 years earlier...:) I also am giving thanks this morning for plastic sheeting, staple guns, and stools. I know how to use all three to cover the netting on my red front screen door that looks like it came from Pine Cone Cabin and now the rain cannot continue to get in--at least through the screen part. The aloe and cactus will be happier.

My thoughts were clearer yesterday on the way to school.The rains seem to bring out the best in my Joycian genepool. It has been quite a week, but this is how it goes. I am once again the teacher and person I aim to be and am-give or take PMS and the moon. The report card worries and furies continued right up until the end of the day yesterday with teachers in my team whiting out mistakes and hand doing the grades. I checked mine and they looked okay to me. I didn't proofread carefully but I did proofread some. By last Tuesday, I was done. I also communicated to the children how I truly perceive those boxes and numbers and what they mean. I also shared how I really perceived them. Seeds of glory time....my baggage not theirs.
So, it was on the same way to work yesterday, in the pouring, whipping rain, that I had these musings. NB: I always drive around the "long way" to school on rainy days because I get to look at the trees, drive by the Blue Heron Cafe, curve around by little homes that never fail to remind my of An Spiddal in the Gaeltacht of west Ireland, and occasionally see a heron, eagle, falcon, terns, or crows in flight.
So, I'm driving and thinking. Matt is singing his song about this long way he's on and he's never really alone even if it feels that way, and I had this "Julian moment"--all is well. All shall be well. All has always been well. This doesn't mean that it has been easy, perfect, just, peaceful, or right. It means well--Life and not alone. I'm not talking some deep Jesus is always in charge kind of thing here (although that is true for some people all of the time and true for me some of the time even though I wish I could settle into the acceptance of acting as if this were the case even though I believe that this is so) It means I know and gratefully acknowledge that I have had it ALL and HAVE it ALL. It is a sense of contentment, wisdom, surrender, irony, inner sarcasm, love, and hope that grows out of making choices, bearing the consequences, dancing the dances, and facing into the wind so that tears can mix with the rain and the salt of ocean waves...and the laugh of the wind...
I got off track. I was on my way to work to use my voice, body, heart, mind, and HANDS for work, my Work, God's Work with the kids, colleagues, community...I looked at my hands. I know my hands. I know my mother's hands. I know my Grandma Surridge's hands. I know Grandma Grace's hands. I know Mammo's hands. I know Grandma McKenna's hands. I know Great Grandma Mary's hands. I pictured clear memories of each one of these women, MY WOMEN's hands. My mother--these hands with fingers that curl over organ and piano keys with grace and play Christmas carols while we are making green and red paper chains in the kitchen to decorate the house. My mother's hands hold pencils that make sense out of numbers. These hands sew and make beautiful costumes and clothes and curtains and blankets. These hands cook, mend, bake, grow, clean, hold, pray, and taught me how to draw horses and mountains.These hands love my dad's. My mother's fingers are long, narrow, knobby with pretty round fingernails, and she wears a special ring. Grandma Surridge-warm, round, card-holding, cookie-baking, Butch-loving, "Hi-ya Honey, Momma home" phone-holding hands. Mammo's hands--had blue veins, held tiny crochet hooks for my hands and scolded about the tension being all wrong in my lace. Her voice said the words. Her hands slap-patted at mine to relax them and then she held mine in hers and we worked the lace together. These hands were white, frail, arthritic hands with narrow wrists. Hands that clapped with the cackling voice from the front porch at the Whistling Pete fireworks at Pine Lake on 4th of July. I've seen pictures of those hands sawing, but I don't remember them doing that. My Grandma Grace--her hands were bigger, longer, stronger. These hands were the hands of a dancer. Her movements were always with a flair and a drama. Even as she prayed. These hands had to learn alot of Life's lessons on their own. And they did it their own way all Life long. I've seen those hands when they carried in a turkey, held a rosary, cradled grandbabies, held the phone while she scolded my grandpa for being halfway across the world on Christmas Day instead of there with the family and her eyes full tears at the same time...her hands that made meatloaf sandwiches. Those meatloaf sandwiches were always a little dry but those hands poured you pop (rootbeer) to go with your sandwich.
Grandma McKenna's hands liked to hug people and were never still, ever. They were always moving in the pocket of her apron or fiddling with a Kleenex. Those hands liked to hold the hand of the nearest person. Those hands belonged to a person with the clearest eyes and smile-crinkles on the edges and who learned your name the first time she met you. Great-Grandma Mary had tiny hands, esp. when compared to the size of her Man. She had tiny everything, except spirit. Her hands were purply, covered with paperthin skin. Those were working hands. I only remember holding them once. I'm sure she held mine more. My hands are the hands of these women--doing, living, praying, working, playing, holding...loving. These are the wrinkles, veins, nobby knuckles of my hands, the hands of my ancestresses. I have it ALL.


  • At 1:12 PM, Blogger The Freewaydiva said…


    My co-worker's sister's site. Thought you might dig.


  • At 1:59 PM, Blogger thread girl said…

    What a beautiful description of loving, woman-hands. Sometimes when I am feeling especially close to my mom, I can almost reach out and hold her hand. It's a beautiful memory of her.

  • At 2:59 PM, Anonymous Beau said…

    Wow, that's was a beautiful description of Grandma Grace. Thank you for sharing.

  • At 6:45 PM, Anonymous col said…

    I am so lucky to share your hands, and to read your recollections of women with whom I didn't have as much time... thank you.

  • At 11:45 PM, Blogger Maude said…

    Your descriptions triggered memories I would never bring forward on my own. Thank you for always painting such a vivid picture. I always thought my hands look like Grandma Raney. Maude


Post a Comment

<< Home