Monday, May 5, 2014

Lend a Hand

The guest writer for this posting is my mom, Blanche L. Ledford. Her story was published in Simplicity, a prose and poetry book that we co-authored. Catawba Publishing printed our book.

Lend a Hand
by:  Blanche L. Ledford

For 91 years, my hands have served me well.  Blood veins crisscross my hands like the Blue Ridge Mountains where I grew up during the Great Depression.

I helped feed my family when I was a child.  I hoed the vegetable garden, picked corn, okra, green beans, squash, and dug Irish potatoes.  I helped Mama can food and strung leather breeches with my blistered hands.

I fed the pig, petted his pink nose, and called him Sam.  Around Thanksgiving each year Daddy and my brother, George, butchered the hog.  I covered my ears with trembling hands to deafen the hog's squealing as he died.  I could not eat a bite of bacon.

My brother and I cut firewood with a cross-cut saw on Davy Mountain during the winter.  I blew my breath on frozen hands as we piled the pine on a sled and snaked it to the log cabin.

I carried buckets of water from the spring for cooking, bathing, and washing.  I scrubbed clothes on a rub board until my hands bled.

In the summer, I picked blackberries for pies and preserves.  I scratched chigger bites with purple stained hands and briers pricked my fingers.

When I married, my husband invited strangers home to eat.  I prepared many meals with my hands.  I kneaded bread and made biscuits for my family.  I have fed "angels unaware" who gathered around my kitchen table.  I hope I have served others and especially God well with my hands.

But I've had pleasure with my hands.  I had four babies, held them and caressed their soft faces with my work-worn hands.

I played softball with my children and clapped when they made home runs. I've wiped tears from their faces when they fell and scraped their knees.

I made ruffled dresses for my daughters and they looked like dolls when they were infants.  I cut plaid cloth and made shirts for my son.  I enjoyed sewing my my hands.

When my children outgrew their clothes, I cut them into patterns and made quilts. I stitched and matched the corners with tired hands.

My hands have served me well all of my life.  Some days now, they work hard.  I still enjoy gardening and working in my flowers.  My greatest thrill is picking tomatoes and sharing them with people.  Some days my hands just rest on the soft arms of my chair.

My mom and I wish all of my blogger friends a  Happy Mother's Day.  I appreciate very much my blogger friends and enjoy visiting your blogs.


magnoliasntea said...

Hi Brenda. what a beautiful article written by your mother! I enjoyed it very much as it describes the lives of many of the people I knew growing up. Times were hard for them, and their daily work was very rough, too. For myself, I think those folks are the salt of earth. Have a wonderful week and give your mom a hug for me.

lil red hen said...

Tell your mother this was so interesting to me. We've been told "idle hands are the devil's workshop" but your mother pushed him aside with her loving hands.

Your header photo is beautiful!

Donna Volkenannt said...

Hi Brenda,
What a lovely poem, and the photo of your mom is beautiful. The bright hat and gorgeous flowers say it all.

Believe it or not, my grandmother's name was Minerva Blanche Ledford, and everyone called her Blanche.

Blanche is also my sister's middle name. She was named after our grandmother.

Sending Mother's Day greetings to your part of the world.

Betsy Adams said...

Awesome post, Brenda (and Brenda's Mom).... This is something you can keep and cherish forever --and pass it on down the generations...

So many things she said were things I remember my mother doing when I was a child... How special is that.

Happy Mother's Day to your Mom--and to the entire family.


Muddling Through said...

Your mother's hands have been a blessing to many over the years. It makes me sad to think of the so many people today who scorn to know that joy. To work with your own hands to help others is one of the best things in life. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

What a precious post for Mother's Day. God bless you both.

TexWisGirl said...

really beautiful. reminded me of my mother. thank you.

Cranberry Morning said...

[Thank you for stopping in at Cranberry Morning today!]

This was a beautiful post! And such a profound reminder of how the following generation has lost so much of the ability to be self-sufficient, has lost so many of the basic life skills that were common to your mother's generation. People worked hard to survive, to care for their families - and didn't waste time feeling sorry for themselves. I have great respect for that generation.

I hope your mother has a wonderful Mother's Day!

Janet, said...

Life was so much harder in times past. But, it also held joy. I enjoyed reading your mom's story. I wish her a very happy Mother's Day.

Susie Swanson said...

Awe, I love it Brenda. I've read it over and over. Just like you your mother is so great at writing. I've enjoyed your books so much. Mothers are so special. Happy Mother's Day to you both.

Daisy said...

This is lovely, Brenda! Happy Mother's Day to you!

Glenda Beall said...

Happy Mother's Day to Blanche Ledford, a beautiful lady with a beautiful spirit. I miss seeing her and hope she can come out with you again before long.

NCmountainwoman said...

Wonderful post. I can see where you got the gift of poetry.

lady sparks said...

How I wish that people took joy and pride in hard work, not so today. Maybe for a few. God Bless your Mom she has lived well.
Connie Currie

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