Behold – the hands

Have you ever stopped to consider your hands?

2 hands 1It is amazing how little attention we pay to our hands until something painful happens to them. Most people give daily, sometimes hourly, thought to their face, or their body, or their hair style, or even their shoe size, but hardly ever consider their hands except maybe to decide what color nail polish to use.

Babby meMy hands pushed me to a standing position when I was a child learning to walk, or held onto the helping hand during those first steps. Now at almost 85 they are again helping me to get up out of the chair I’m siting in, or reaching for a helping hand when I have to climb the stairs.

When I was a boy a friend accidentally shot an arrow through one of my hands. The doctor said there would be no permanent injury, but to this day I can’t fully open the last two fingers of my right hand. It is no great impediment, but when I notice it, it evokes happy memories of a day hunting frogs so we could have frog-legs for dinner.

My hands have held the reins to a team of matched grays pulling a sidebar mower or a side-delivery rake. They developed heavy callouses pitching the same hay that I had mowed and raked some days earlier.

They have passed ammunition for a 5-inch gun during a shore bombardment during the Korean Conflict. On another occasion they held a compress to a shipmate’s bleeding leg until the corpsman got there after he fell down a ladder. “Nothing serious,” the corpsman said, but it sure bled like hell.

These hands have turned the pages of innumerable books in a college library before computers came to be.

They trembled when I slipped the ring on my bride’s finger and again when I held our newborn daughter for the first time.

For eight years my wife, our son and I lived aboard a sailboat in Hawaii. Every year in about September when the rainy season started in Hawaii we would head south to the summer months in French Polynesia. It was our hands that raised and trimmed the sails and for 8 hours in every 24-hour day, for 22 to 25 days, we each had to take our turns of 4 hours of holding onto the tiller.

We sold the boat and started a normal life when our son was ready for college. In the years following we talked about our sailing days more than anything else, but we never talked about the part our hands played in it.

I have no idea how many years of hours these hands, first on a typewriter and later on a computer, have hit the keys in my trying to write novels.

The hands have always had something to do with all my joyful moments. Why have I never paid more attention to them?

They have been bashed, cut, bruised, bled, broken and reset and are probably the most abused of any part of me. They are old, soft, and wrinkled now, but of all my body parts they are what I can depend on the most. They catch on to something if I start to fall and hold me up. They still clap for something I admire.

As they have been doing for eighty-some years they still faithfully lift the food and drink from the plate to my mouth, maybe a little more often than they should sometimes, or feeding me things the doctor says I shouldn’t eat, but that is not their fault. They are only doing as they are told.

Oh, how grateful I am for those hardly-ever-thought-about hands.

May your hands never fail you and be always ready to reach out to someone who needs a helping hand.


Paul’s book The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing is now available on Amazon and from the publisher. Kindle and Nook versions just $4.99. – Soon to be available as an audiobook.

Another new novel of mine, Murder Sets Sail, will be coming next month from Second Wind Publishing. This novel is not a mystery. You know from the beginning who the murderers are and who they intend to murder. Adventure aboard a sailboat from Honolulu to Hong Kong.

We jus signed a contract for another book with Second Wind Publishing. Death On the Church Steps is another mystery.

To learn a little more about me click here.


Filed under books

10 responses to “Behold – the hands

  1. A fine post, Paul. Our opposable thumbs certainly make us unique in the animal kingdom, and yes, we certainly take them for granted, until we hurt one or, worst case, loose one.

    I shattered the bone in my great right toe many years ago, and learned the importance of toes in ambulating! I can’t imagine not being able to type.

  2. What an unusual fascinating post. Thank you very much. Now at last after just on 80 years I shall look on my gnarled old hands with respect and shame; shame for never having considered them and said thank you.

  3. A beautiful post, Paul. Very insightful and brought back many memories.

    • Paul J. Stam

      Thank you, Sherrie. I am continually amazed at the things my hands can still do, usually with no complaint. – Aloha – pjs.

  4. Touching post, John. Thank you!

  5. Lovely post. You’ve got me looking at my hands as I type and feeling grateful for them.

    • Paul J. Stam

      Thank you, Sheila. As you may know I dabbler in ceramic sculpture. It was while I was doing it that I noticed my hands and started thinking about them. Thanks again for your comment. – Blessings and Aloha – pjs.

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