In the years past children were raised different. Our Mothers were the stablizing force that kept the home neat, clean, food on the table and hugs galore for all. 

You see my mothers hands and others like my mother, had hands that were not manicured, or soft. I have seen her sometime hide them under her dress at social events, as her nails were not beautiful as some of the other ladies. 

But those hands could perform miracles. Those hands could plant a garden, feed the animals, and gather firewood for cooking and heat.  Those hands when time came could gather things from the garden. do expert canning for our winter meals and put food on a table that would shame a gourmet chef. 

Those loving hands could soothe a crying infant and at the same time make a cowlick sticking up lay down like a soft blanket.  Every Friday she washed and hung clothes on the straw grass clothes lines that some how made them smell so fresh and clean. She could take black iron kettle starched shirts and pants that were stiff as boards and with the talent displayed by the best artist, her iron could make them look like store bought.

When our clothes wore out, I watched as she took feed sacks and other pieces of cloth and begin sewing. When she was finished, no tailor could have done better. I was proud to wear the shirts and pants into town and school, because they reminded me all day long just how much my mother loved us. Then when we are old enough, she made us sit down with her and she begin to teach us for days how to sew a straight line, how to read and cut cloth following  a paper clothes pattern she had ordered from the Sears and Roebuck Catalog. When we mastered that, she upgraded us to techniques used for making quilts and tableclothes.

When our car or some other type of machinery quit working, I have watched as she stood in the hottest of suns and on some of the coldest nights, handing wrenches to my dad and grandad as they repaired the equipment for the next day.

During the seasons, she would take us black berry  and muscadine picking and those hands could some how find the biggest and juiciess berries on the bushes and trees.  Upon returning, she made us clean the berries and prepare them for making jams and jellies that would bless our breakfast table all year long. When we had enough jams and jellies she would make blackberry cobblers for us and the neighbors. Any left over was given to the neighbors so they could make their own. Over the years she taught a lot of children how to cook and can goods for the winter. 

In this cycle of life, death reaches everyone's door sooner or later.  As soon as she heard about a death in a family, she would be the first there to help, with hands that could make food faster than anyone for the relatives and friends coming to pay their respect.

Our mother loved us dearly and taught us children to love and look out for each other. Those hands while they could give us loving pats on our backs , they could also make our butts burn if we needed a little correcting for our misdeeds.

Her hands were always open, just like her heart, when it came to giving us what we needed, but misbehave in church and those hands could pinch as hard as a zipper.

Yes! My Mother's hands were stained at times and had hard spots on them, but to me and my brother and sister, they were the prettiest hands we had ever seen or felt.

I still miss those hands even to this day. 

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05 Jul 2018

By Carl