Cousin Eddie

This is young me and my cousin Eddie. He was the son of my great uncle Ed of many wives. Big Ed was the same age as my father when when Eddie and I were born, an ancient 36 in those days, which made them fast and dangerous friends.

I don’t remember much about Eddie, but the elders of my family used to say things like, “remember that time you and Eddie did….” To which I’d usually smile beatifically and nod. Weren’t we such scamps?!

I doubt the photo was staged, I’m sure we were randomly pounding out nonsense. My family though, was pretty creative and musical. I grew up with a piano and harp in my house. I took seven years of piano. First from Mrs. Russo, a relic of about 40 that made me practice and play the classics only. Then from Mrs. Turner, a hippie by comparison, who let me choose what I wanted to play. As a result I can play the beginning of Fur Elise, a few bars of The Entertainer and most of Annie’s Song by John Denver. I can still read music, but it’s a struggle, although I do now have a piano in my home again. And occasionally I’ll sit down in front of it.

I wish I could remember more about Eddie, about our silly antics that seemed to have delighted our relatives. I’ll just have to trust that we were adorable and got into the cutest trouble. And appreciate the photographic evidence that these times did exist.

21 Day Body Love Challenge – Give That Girl a Hand

photo (9)“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of person’s character lies in their own hands. ” – Anne Frank

Hands are fantastic. They are expressive, flexible bags of 27 bones each, including the magical thumb.

I am quite enamored of my own hands. They help organize the creative debris in my head into an actual something; a piece of art or jewelry or a story.

As a child I was forced at gun point to take piano lessons – sort of. I wanted to know how to play the piano and maybe be in a famous rock band, but that business of lessons and practicing really ate into my tree climbing time. But sitting for an hour on a piano bench in the home of an ancient woman, probably 40, who had plastic on her furniture had its rewards.

I easily picked up the flute, which I fake-played all the way through the whole seventh grade. I stopped trying when I realized my future would probably involve more moving from chair to chair, playing to the polite applause of old people and not the cover of Tiger Beat magazine and the screaming adulation of girls who wished they were me. And cute boys. I was pretty good at archery which seemed to take some dexterity. AND my typing skills nearly set the typewriter on fire.

I still type fast and I can still type without looking at the keyboard or the screen. To freak my husband out, I’ll type a whole paragraph straight from my imagination onto the screen while staring at him the whole time. He hates that.

A knuckle-cracker since kindergarten or before – I can seriously remember cracking my knuckles when I was six, sitting next to Donna Wilcox on her living room couch – I have developed a little arthritis. In my right ring finger top knuckle. Just there. Curious.

Hands grip and hug and slap and punch and pet and caress and point and flip off and beckon. Hands can hold on and let go. They can give. They can receive. There’s almost nothing hands can’t do.

In 100 years hands will probably evolve into something like a mitten claw with super speedy, hyper flexible thumbs. The other four fingers will be webbed together just to hold devices. I’m glad I still have 5 fingers on each hand. More rings.

There’s a lot of symbolism around fingers and hands.  In Ayurveda, each finger represents an element. Lines of the palm are read to predict the future. Areas of the palm and fingers correspond to different organs and areas of the body in reflexology. Indians decorate their palms with henna to awaken their inner light and whole languages are spoken with the hands – and not just Italian. Hands are powerful.

My hands are beginning to show their age. The skin is a little less smooth, the veins a little more pronounced, but I still recognize them as my own.They have taken a beating, playing hard when I was younger, typing for hours on end, flipping off drivers – although I hardly do that anymore – holding tight to tools as I manipulate wire to make jewelry. They’ve been scraped and dragged on gravel roads, hit with more than one baseball and nearly frozen. Smashed in car doors, run over by big wheels, cut with knives, and worse, paper. And they’ve caught me a million times as I fell from bikes, steps, a stage and trees.

My favorite thing I’ve done with my hands lately? I put a ring on the left one, or rather, he did. There is no other body part as busy or as involved in my life as my hands. For that I thank them. Let’s give them a hand!

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” – Audrey Hepburn