Every one of them is covered with age spots and wrinkles. Most are crooked from arthritis. They all bear scars and callouses from years of hard work. These hands all wiped away wailing children's tears, patted naked baby bottoms and washed endless dishes. Most of them milked cows, tilled a garden, sewed clothing and created artwork. Some of them waved sad goodbyes as husbands or sons went off to war. Every single one of them wore a wedding ring for over 40 years, one of them for nearly 58 years. They still miss holding the hands of their beloved husbands who have since passed away.
These six hands belong to the Swimming Ladies. The hands tell the stories of lifetimes. Written in the lines of these hands are the following totals:
Birthdays celebrated: 491
Average age: 82
Years of marriage: 283
Great-grandchildren: 74 (and counting)
Last Thursday we took another train trip to the Big City for lunch. The days spent with these incredible women are some of my favorites. They chat about the old days and tell of experiences they had in their youth when times were so different. They are all deeply religious and talk about their life experiences freely.
And the smiles. The smiles! I never tire of the smiles! I love every one of them!
Photo notes: Eris met us for lunch and rode the train home with us. She sat with Mom and they talked the entire time. The extra guy on the end was a tourist from Sweden. His buddy was behind the camera so he joined us in the picture.
The last photo of the two sisters will probably always be one of my favorites.