Sunday, May 27, 2007

Show Of Hands

I caught a glimpse of my hand the other day, while I was typing, and thought there must be someone else in the room, sitting beside me. Someone old. Then, I saw its mate. My hands. My old, old hands. They're wrinkled on top, and the veins are prominent.

I talk a lot about being old, but I don't really believe I am. Not until the evidence is right in front of my face, like when I suddenly come upon a mirror. Ten years ago, I looked in the mirror, and saw my mother. It was as though she was trying to possess me. I would actually say, out loud, "No. I'm not you." Then, I'd begin to look more like myself. It was eerie, to say the least.

Nowadays, I look more like my grandmother, which kind of pleases me. She had a sweet look about her, and I never feel that she is trying to take over my body. Her hands were soft, nurturing hands. But, my hands? My mother's hands. No getting around it. No nonsense hands.

Dustin Hoffman was on the Tonight Show years ago, while Johnny Carson was still the host. He held his hands up for the camera and, although he was a relatively young man, still, his hands looked ancient. He said someone once told him that he was an old soul, meaning that he had lived many lives, and that they were reflected in his hands.

I notice people's hands more than I realized. My father's hands were well-manicured, long fingers, very gentle - the hands of a surgeon. Mother's hands were a bit rough - she never wore rubber gloves when she scrubbed anything or washed dishes. Her nails were cut down to the quick, a habit from her nursing days, I imagine.

I have a friend whose hands are always in motion - grasping, which fits her personality. She shops every day, acquiring more and more "things". I had a boss who constantly rubbed his hands together, a gleeful sound, a satisfied sound, a "let's get busy sound". You could hear him from way down the hall.

Jay's hands are strong-looking, very clean. Kell's hands are a child's hands, youthful. At least, they seem that way to me. They look delicate and rather artistic, befitting someone who likes needlework and crafts. But their hands still fit their owners' personalities.

Do you ever notice hands? If you do, raise your hands.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

My hands have age spots. When i look in the mirror I see Patsy, the
chicken woman. I always think ...what's Pat doing down here.
Sis 3

Joy Des Jardins said...

I'm like you Betty....I notice hands all the time; I always have. Maybe it's because when I was a kid I use to bite my nails, and I just loved looking at long sculptured hands with long manicured nails. I always wanted them. My nails are long now but my hands are small...not those long beautiful digits, so I still feel like I've got little kid hands.

her indoors said...

gosh i am now studying my hands, oh no they are starting to look older than me, must try some new age decreasing hand cream!

Betty said...

Sis 3: Kind of spooky, isn't it?
joy de jardins: I have always noticed people's hands.
her indoors: Didn't mean to scare you.

Alan G said...

I also notice my hands often. Hard not too when you spend anytime at all on a computer. However....

If I look at the palm of my hands they appear to be the hands of a twenty-year old. Immediately turn them over and look at the back and it appears I am border line death!

patsy said...

my children's hand were young and one day i noticed that my oldest son's hands were no longer young. made me sad.

Annie said...

My aunt, an artist, did a pen and ink drawing of her mother's hands that I love to look at. Peasant hands, they seem, showing the wear and care of work in the garden, at the stove in the kitchen, in her childrens' braided hair, on her granddaughter's back (that was MY back) as she gently stroked me to sleep. If my hands come to look like hers, I will view them with pride and happiness.

Peggy said...

My hands are dry and the nails are in terrible condition.

One of the things I love about my husband and one of the first things I noticed are his hands. They're so masculine and solid!

Hands are very telling. My children have inherited my long fingers. Looking at my youngest child's hands are like looking at my own 30 years ago.

John said...

A few years ago I had very poor eyesight due to cateracts in both eyes. When I regained my sight, I was walking down a corridor in the hospital, when I reached out to push a door open. An old man's hand beat me to it and opened the door. Suddenly I realised that that leathery old hand was my own.

Queen of Dysfunction said...

I'm forced to notice hands. Most people who meet me are inspired to wrap theirs around my neck. Like my husband's are pretty strong, my dad's are mercilessly gripping, and my friends are usually too short to reach my neck so while they jump and try to throttle me I have noticed their hands are kind of soft in the middle with rough patches on the tips.

Kell said...

Actually, I have my mother's hands :-)

Newt said...

When I've been asked what I check out on a guy I always say first it's his eyes and then it's his hands. Maybe because I want someone whose hand I will hold till I'm 100. Whatever it is, I always check out a man's hands.

dc said...

I heard a wonderful explaination this weekend about why we look older but still feel the same inside as we did when we were much younger. Your soul knows no age!! Sort of gave me goosebumps, {that would be on top of my age spots!} DC

CarmenSinCity said...

I really don't notice hands. I look at feet though! I always look to see if people have their toes done. I think it's a SIN to wear flip flops or heels or anything open-toed without having your feet looking nice. It's a MUST! I will wear boots and tennis shoes if I don't have time to get a pedicure. I put lotion on about 10 times a day - it's a must when you live in the desert.

I think we all have our quirks!

Betty said...

alan: Which brings us to palm reading, but I really don't want to go there.

Patsy: My son is getting some gray in his hair. That makes me feel even older.

annie: I've noticed that a lot of artists concentrate on hands.

Betty said...

peggy: Apparently, my daughter thinks her hands look like mine. (See comment from Kell)

kell: Actually, you're right.

john: You make a good case for the advantages to cataracts!

qofd: If they ever actually make contact, you'll be able to describe the hands, at least, to the cops.

Betty said...

newt: Actually, I notice how broad a man's shoulders are, but in both sexes, I notice the eyes.

dc: I think that's a pretty good thought, actually.

carmen: Feet, ew. I wouldn't insult anyone with a view of my funny-looking feet. lol

Velvet Sacks said...

Funny. I recently told my sister that I'd stopped seeing our mother in the mirror and started seeing our grandmother, and my reaction to it was almost identical to yours: I kind of like it.

In regard to the hands, yes, I notice them. And in regard to my own old, wrinkled hands, I wrote a few months back about how they've not only aged, they've become uncontrollable. After years of maintaining decorum, my left hand, of its own volition and to my embarrassment, flipped off another driver who cut me off in traffic. (I'm just telling about this incident as a warning that liver spots may not be the worst problem with old hands.)

Melissa said...

I notice hands, and could pick my family's and friends' out of a lineup. Not that they be in a lineup - they're law-abiding folk. Honestly.

Arkansas Songbird said...

Yes, I notice hands. I think it is because I am a musician and use my hands so much every day playing the piano and other instruments.

Cazzie!!! said...

What a wonderful thought provoking post Betty!
Yes, without my hands I would not be able to do my much loved work. As a nurse, I notice my hands. I have to care for them most efinately. I have top debug them at every turn, and I have to remember to moisturise them regularly.
My firngernails never grow long, they chip soon enough if they try to.
I talk with my hands, especially if I am working alongside Italian people, or deaf people..of yes, that is mot important too!!

patsy said...

I have a question, you might know and you might not but i will ask. Lucille youngblood married Richard Shipman and they owned shipman's jewelry at harrison. Do you possible know if lucille still lives?

Marty: said...

I notice hands a lot. I've always taken very good care of my nails and hands but I've realized recently that they got old anyway. My 3-yr-old grandson was tracing the age spots on my hand, and asked "Is this a tattoo?" Thanks for your comments on my blog!

Betty said...

velvet sacks: I've been known to gesture a time or two, myself.

melissa & arkansas songbird: I'm surprised at the number of people who notice hands.

I talk with my hands, sometimes, too. Ok, all the time.

marty: I enjoy your blog. Thanks for visiting mine.

patsy: Lucille is still alive, and, I think she either lives in a nursing home or with her son. I'm not sure. I've kind of lost track of her over the years. She didn't get out much, because she had terrible arthritis that affected her feet. She was in a lot of pain, and then, as she got older, the arthritis got better. Strange.

Chancy said...

Betty I also have enlarged veins on my hands and I had some age spots until the dermatologist burned them off. My nails have always been a disappointment as they are dry and brittle and refuse to grow long and lovely.

My mother's hands were not beautiful; they were square like mine and sort of no nonsense but always clean and well groomed.

Whenever I am sick, even now at my advanced age, I long for the healing, cool, calm touch of my mother's hands. When I was a child we had a small brass lady bell that I rang when I was sick in bed and my mother would come and I would always feel better at the touch of her hands.

Claude said...

A few years ago, I too saw my mother in a mirror! That was really crazy because my hair is white, and my mother never had white hair. But still, it was her, until I realised it was me. I never thought that other people experienced the same thing!