The Woman with the Beautiful Hands

Rosemary Parker

When I allow glimpses of old memories to be opened in full detailed accounting it brings me stories from the past of special people I have met as if it happened yesterday.

Today I am thinking of a woman I met one day at least 10 years ago at my bed and breakfast in the Hamptons. I had called from a local phone book someone to repair some torn screens in my house.  I unexpectedly found someone who was willing to come and do the work that same day.
Just an hour later, A beat-up chipped-blue-colored pickup truck drove into the parking lot of my bed and breakfast.  I saw a petite woman, dressed in a faded blue rolled-up sleeves plaid shirt, jeans worn and tearing at the knees  —the threads wearing so thin revealed the brown skin they barely covered. As she climbed out of her truck, I see her curly brown hair tucked under a red baseball cap and her ruddy reddish-brown complexion had a slightly dusty appearance. I imagined it to be from the dirty screens she had replaced earlier that day on her last job. I was pleasantly surprised that it was a woman who owned the small business that I had contacted.

While I explained to her what I needed, she remained very quiet and shy like a Catholic school girl brought before the head nun for questioning. To ease her, I told her I was so happy to meet another female entrepreneur. She looked directly into my eyes for the first time and smiled such a beautiful smile revealing her less than perfect teeth. Then she looked down at my recently manicured hands.  She said, “you have such beautiful hands”. 

I took her hands in mine and said “no my dear — you have hands far more beautiful than mine. Your hands are a testament to your hard work that provides an income for your family. With hands like these I know your children are well-fed, they have a good home to come home to and they are taught the most important principles in life. Work hard and you will always have a grateful life.  Don’t ever be ashamed of these beautiful hands.”  She looked up at me smiling as a singular tear ran down her cheek and she said, “thank you”.

In a matter of just a few hours, all of the work was complete. I walked back outside to hand her a check while she loaded her supplies into the back of her truck.   As she pulled out of the driveway in her blue pickup truck, I felt grateful to have had the opportunity to have met this woman that day.  This small brown skin Latino woman was one of the most impressive women I have ever met.