My husband recalls from elementary school being assigned to write a paper on the subject of grandmother’s hands. Too bad his original manuscript is lost to posterity, but it fascinates me he occasionally remembers that particular, somewhat sentimental, title.
Grandmother’s hands popped into my head yesterday when I was out in the garden performing a ritual of sorts.
Many a summer morning as a child I followed behind my maternal grandmother as she picked up her clippers from a shelf and headed to her cutting garden.
There among her neat rows of gladioli in assorted colors, I would helpfully point out the ones I thought she should select (probably any with a sliver of red), but like the kitchen, the cutting garden really was her purview and hers alone.
She would gather into her apron the flowers with blooms that were sufficiently open and would bring them back indoors to lovingly arrange.
I realized last year I have ended up with my maternal grandmother’s flower clippers and it occurred to me to take a photograph of them sometime.
Finally yesterday morning I went a step further. Following a heavy rain the night before, a few gladioli stood in need of rescue.
I retrieved my grandmother’s clippers from a shelf in the garage. There were three flower stalks and with each solemn cut I made a conscious connection, a pleasant one, back to my childhood.
And there it was—stuck in my head—my husband’s essay topic, grandmother’s hands. How many times had my grandmother’s hands held these little clippers, I wondered. How many times had she slipped the latch to free the blades?
The clippers made clean cuts after all these years and brought back nice memories. They are back on the shelf now, the clippers and the memories. Their heft I still feel in my own hand.
So grandmother’s hands? The writing prompt I best remember from early high school is A Red Leaf Takes A Tumble. Fortunately my effort on that is also one lost to posterity but I know I enjoyed exploring it. Do you have a favorite assigned writing topic?