free hit counter Snacks, please!: All around the Christmas tree, part 2

Monday, December 17, 2007

All around the Christmas tree, part 2

A few years ago, I won some Christmas ornaments in a friend's divorce. She was moving to a Third World country to be a big-time foreign correspondent, her former husband also was living abroad, and neither of them had room in their shoulder bags for a few dozen gold filigree oak leaves, beribboned clam shells, and crocheted snowflakes.

Some people think it's creepy that I have divorce ornaments on the tree. But I don't know. I think it'd be bad luck to get rid of them. Besides. Besides! I adore the white snowflakes. They remind me of my grandmother.

Nan used to crochet snowflakes in the winter -- lovely, delicate things, like winter spiderwebs. She used clean white cotton, as thin as angel hair, and a tiny metal hook that looked like it might snap in her fists.

I wouldn't say Nan had big hands, because she was a tiny Italian grandmother-sized woman and, when I grew up, I could balance my chin on her starched forehead curl. But she did have factory hands. (Midnight shift, so she could spend more time with us during the day.) Her fingers were perpetually swollen from piecework, her nails were short, and her skin was worn and rough.

I used to bite my nails (still do, sometimes, at red lights, when I'm running late) and she'd gently swat my hand from my mouth and say, "You don't want hands like mine!" And I would say honestly, "Yes, I do!"

If you asked me today, I'd say I loved her hands because they were loving hands, effortlessly generous and capable. If you asked me then, I'd just say I loved them because they were hers.

She's been gone almost 10 years now and I'd give almost anything if she could pat Lucylu's cheek with one of those hands, if she could roll a meatball for big, funny Margaret, if she could rock my little Josephinie to sleep.


Anonymous Alain said...

This is why there should be an after-life: So people could read things like this about themselves.

December 18, 2007 at 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Jane said...

So sweet! I love those snowflakes, too.

December 18, 2007 at 11:15 AM  

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