The Ladies Page


Threshing oats

Dewey L. Erwin

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History records that back in the first century there lived a Roman named Marcus Fabius Quintilianus. His wisdom comes on down to us under the name of Quintilian. Two books, which he brought forth during his lifetime, contain the best of Roman thought. His writings are filled with practical good sense. They are sympathetic writings with a personal quality, and they bring us insight into human behavior. Quintilian wanted to accomplish growth both of character and intellect. This man had something to say about hands. I quote.

At the December 5, 1971 meeting of the Tuscarawas Valley Pioneer Power Assn., Inc. it was announced that a Show held in August 13, 14 and 15th, 1971 was very successful and plans are under way for next years show. Officers were elected as follows: President, Chas. Harrison from Scio; Francis Young from East Sparta as Vice-president; Bob Scheetz as Secretary-Treasurer from Massilion; Dale Prysi of New Phil, as Assistant Secretary-Treasurer and the Trustees are Jim Sloan and Verle Baker from Dover and Whitey Beechy from Sugarcreek. Pictured above is Chas. Harrison on the left, the new President and Walter Luke on the right, the past President. Taken at the Dover Ohio Fair Grounds. Courtesy of Mrs. R. E. Brown, Magazine Chairman, Tuscarawas Valley Pioneer Power Assn. Inc., 426 Marian Street, Dover, Ohio 44622.

'Other parts of the body assist the speaker but the hands speak them selves. By them we ask, promise, invoke, dismiss, threaten, entreat, deprecate. By them we express fear, joy, grief, our doubts, assent, or penitence; we show moderation or profusion, and mark number and time.' Unquote.

Have you ever had the experience of clasping a human hand only to have it go completely limp within your own. It is more shocking than encountering cold, slippery dish water.

During the nineteenth century a woman editor of the Ladie's Home Companion had this to say. 'I love a hand that meets my own with a grasp that causes some sensation.' I agree with the lady. She was Frances Sargent Osgood.

At present our airwaves are advising us to 'Put your hand in the hand of the man who stills the water.' And apparently people like the idea. The song is a favorite of young and old.

What is there about the human hand which carries so much of a blessing or a curse. You can strike someone sharply with your hand, a searing, stinging blow, showing disdain and hatred. But that same human hand can bless with unspeakable joy. Love can flow through willing hands in endless contributions of service. Both fathers and mothers of quality are endlessly using their hands for such giving.

'Bless the hands which serve this food,' is no idle plea. Recently we were invited out for Sunday dinner, and our friend, Ruth, served an excellent meal. A superbly done turkey was our main dish. We were hungry for turkey, especially this writer, and as the electric knife cut those succulent slices the whole house was filled with anticipation as well as aroma. Loving hands were doing this.

Then there is this family who often sit ahead of us in church. They have a little charmer of a daughter. She is about three. Her hands are so sweet and chubby, and often they are busy patting her mother's cheeks, lightly, tenderly, as though here is all love personified in two caressing small hand's. I remember so well the sweet hands of our grown-up little ones, and I grieve at the inevitable loss. Hands grow, and they never can give back this experience again.

Probably there is no greater loss in our world than to lose the reassuring touch of a human hand. One senses this when one visits homes for our aging citizens. How they cling to your hands! They seem to need, so desperately, someone to hang onto on the human level. Care must flow to them through willing hands, for someone to care for them is their crucial need. They haven't the strength to care for themselves.

16 Hp. Russell engine No. 15848 with a Universal boiler. Picture taken in 1947. Courtesy of Bruce McCourtney, Syracuse, Nebraska 68446.

An old friend stated it in these words. 'There is just nothing on earth to compare to the touch of the human hand-its warmth, its compassion, its unutterable comfort.' When our grief is too deep for utterance there are still the hands of friends to take our hands in their own.

I truly believe that the human spirit can shrivel and die because of the lack of the touch of a loving hand. The body may live on, an empty suffering shell, but when no hand reaches out to you in love, life can be of little more value than a broken pitcher. Creativity can come to a standstill when no one cares.

I remember so well a man telling me that he had started to write poetry again because he had found a second love after the death of his first wife. The fountain was flowing again! That is how important it is to have someone care.

Christ came to earth and blessed with the laying on of hands. He healed in like manner. Surely we need to put our hand in his eternal clasp. But while we are here on earth, why not be a little more giving with our human touch? Let our handshakes be warm and friendly, our exuberant love pouring out to those whose only companion is loneliness. The rare spirit of Christmas could then continue into May. And the warmth of every Steam Reunion I have ever attended (except one) could bless our whole year. This one exception was wet down with a bad substitute bottled fun. The sad part of it is that those who are looking for fun out of a bottle haven't experienced the overflowing joy of the Lord. They are merely looking in the wrong barley shock.

But a hearty handshake also brings joy, a caring hand compassion, and my writing hand, once again, has brought you COUNTRY ECHOES. And I hope you are blessed by it. For we shall always need the strength of one another's hands.