A Few Quiet Minutes

We were sitting near the electric fireplace in the lobby. I had pulled a chair close to his wheelchair. I opened the newspaper that he encouraged me to take home and read because, “there’s a lot of good stuff in there,” and found an interesting article about an artist who uses old wine barrels to make furniture.

“Can you see the chairs Dad? It says he uses one wine barrel to make one Adirondack chair. Aren’t those beautiful?” His big blue eyes were fixed on the paper; he nodded in agreement.fullsizerender-158

A few quiet minutes passed…

“Here’s an article about container planting…you know, I’ve got some coleus cuttings in glasses on my kitchen window sill…they’re just about ready to plant,” I said.  He looked at me with those big blue eyes and nodded in agreement.

He gazed out the large picture window. The American flag, dappled in sunlight, twisted and flapped in the wind.

A few quiet minutes passed…

He turned his head, fixated on the fireplace and extended his right arm to just above the top of the glass front where a small blower generously exhaled warmth into the room. He slowly moved his hand back and forth, feeling the heat on the top, then the palm.

A few quiet minutes passed…

I looked at his arthritic hands, those big hands, and couldn’t help but think what they had accomplished in their day. At one time, they carefully cradled a football, served their country in the Korean War, placed a wedding band tenderly on his wife’s finger, guided a stick of chalk over a classroom blackboard, and gripped a baseball mitt and ball for a game of catch with his boys.

I looked at those hands, those big hands that at one time or another manipulated hammers and saws, rakes and shovels, and despite their cumbersome size, gently persuaded an artist’s paintbrush to create intricate outdoor scenes on slate. Those hands had been put to good use.

“Would you rub my back,” he murmured. I quickly put the newspaper down and stood by the side of his chair. He leaned forward a bit as I began to gently move my right hand over his slightly curved back. My hand passed with a sweeping motion over his royal blue shirt, rippling over flesh and bone. I watched his head comfortably drop.

A few quiet minutes passed…

I placed my left hand on his left arm as I continued to rub his back, caressing his forearm gently.  A song, playing quietly in the background, filled the empty spaces in the room while the wind whimpered and whined just beyond the glass. Familiar lyrics filled my head. I softly sang a few lines while he dozed. My hand was warm.fullsizerender-158

A few quiet minutes passed, and then…

…the room was filled with voices and the quiet hastily vanished. He looked up at me and simply said, “Thank you,” and without a doubt I knew that my small hands had been put to good use in those few quiet minutes.






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