May 1, 2014

The Hands


"Look at his hands, Bobby." Dad said.

Ten year old Bobby had been staring at the imposing face of Abraham Lincoln feeling that he had been silently judged and that Abe had found him unworthy.

"The hands, Bobby. That is the mark of a great artist. Too many people get focused on the face, but the hands...that's where the skill of the artist truly shows.

Bobby looked at his father. Dad looked like the typical summer tourist in D.C. Knee-length walking shorts, oversized shirt and sandals with black socks. But his dad looked different somehow at that moment. He was lost in thought. A far different look than he had while yelling at the TV during news casts or sports shows.

"Those hands. Those hands that wrote the Gettysburg Address. Those hands held this country together at it's most dark and desperate hours almost by sheer force of will."

Bobby looked again at the statue trying to see it as his dad did. He supposed that the hands were OK... only he was impatient to go to the Air and Space Museum so the impact of his dad's words were mostly lost on him. Somehow, though, he remembered them.

Years passed. Bobby became Rob and then Robert. He had used a version of the Hands speech a few times in college to impress girls at museums. One of those girls eventually gave him her hand in marriage.

Robert had nearly forgot his father's words from that day long ago. Robert became enmeshed in climbing the corporate ladder and keeping up with the Joneses as all men do to a greater or lesser extent.

His dad's words came back to him though one Autumn afternoon as he stood beside his wife's bed in the maternity ward.

Robert saw the finest example of an artist's work. A masterpiece of the greatest caliber.

He looked at his newborn son.

His hands were perfect.

Note: In response to this item on my sidebar yesterday I received the "comment" below by Mumblix Grumph, who when I wrote to ask him where he got it replied, "From my own head.  I thought it up while driving home from work yesterday." I've moved it here so that it not be missed.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 1, 2014 2:16 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

And let us praise, too, the sculptor's name: D. C. French, of Massachusetts. You can see his statue of Emerson if you visit the Concord, MA, public library.

Posted by: marcus at September 12, 2008 12:06 PM