The Power of Touch
Textures are everywhere: The rough edges of a stone wall. The smooth innocence of a baby’s cheek. The sense of touch brings back memories for us. What texture is particularly evocative to you?
They can be cold, warm, dry, damp, trembly, firm, calloused, smooth. Hands tell so much about the person.
My mom took good care of her hands. She always clipped her fingernails into points, which I guess was the thing to do when she was young. She worked hard, but she kept her hands smooth. I remember the fruity smell of Jergen’s Hand Lotion as she rubbed it into her own hands, and always put a drop or two on mine. I loved the way it made my hands feel, all smooth and soft.
My dad had big hands. They were working hands. There was never anything soft about his hands until he was too sick to do much. It was always a shock to me, in his final years, to touch his hand and find it soft. No more callouses. Fingernails nicely groomed by my mom or a nurse. I remember, as a little girl, how much I loved it when he would take my hand in his if we were on an icy sidewalk. There was a great deal of strength in his hands.
The hands I love the most, though, are Terry’s. He has wide-palmed, short-fingered hands that can work absolute magic. They aren’t elegant hands, not manicured or buffed or polished. They’re a workingman’s hands, and they’ve saved us literally thousands of dollars over the years in their ability to repair, replace, remove or redo. He’s amazing.
He’s 72, and his hands show their age. I love the touch of his hands. Always gentle with me, his hands have never been raised or fisted in abuse. His hands have reassured, comforted, supported, and nursed me and our kids through many hurts and difficulties.
I was always amazed at how our two dogs would let him do absolutely anything to them. He would swab out their ears, and they would lie still and never twitch. He was the only one who could pull pebbles or ice balls out of their paws, or clip the hair between their toenails. Once, our springer spaniel got into the garbage and ate a big portion of a plastic bag. He let Terry give him an enema, and then walked and walked and walked with him, stopping now and then to let Terry pull on the plastic as it emerged. Sorry to be so graphic, but it just amazed me that the dog was so docile for Terry.
Although he is now retired, those hands are still working. My kitchen is almost finished. There has been so much trim work, finishing touches, and he excels at that sort of thing. Every day when I come home from work, something else has been completed. Also, he mounted our new flatscreen TV on the wall, drilling holes and installing electrical outlets so that all the cords and cables are behind the wall.
I suspect he will have some kind of project going until he can’t get out of bed any more.
I love his hands. His left-hand pinkie got the tip cut off years ago in a work accident. Two other fingers on the same hand were damaged in another accident. I could tell his hands from any other man’s hands with no problem. There is a feel, a texture to them that is instantly familiar.
I love his hands.