My hands ain’t soft anymore

By Grant McGee: CNJ columnist

So how are your hands after this past hard winter? A little rough?

Do they have some cracks?

I was pondering my hands as I was working some lotion into them.

That ole’ dry skin was drinking that stuff up. I looked at the fingers with the impacted bicycle grease and rubber. I looked at my thumbnail; discolored and weird looking after accidentally ramming it on the rear chain cog of a bike.

Yeah, I know what you’re probably thinking, that did hurt a lot.

Even the sides of my hands were rough.

“Rough hands.”

This set off a flashback to my last year in college. I was 20 and had a crush on a tall, healthy young woman named Cathy.

Cathy had invited me to her family’s farm where we walked a bit and soon found ourselves by a stream.

“Let me see your hands,” she said abruptly.

Not thinking, being 20 and eager to impress, I held out my hands.

“Too soft,” she said as she probed my hands with her fingers.

“You’ll never do.” With that she turned around and started walking back to her house.

“But…” I said, still holding out my hands.

“You don’t believe in hard work,” she said without turning around.

“But…”

Cathy was right, I was a dreamer then, not a worker. I was 20 and still had a lot to learn.

I was quite convinced I was going to hammer out the great American novel, make tons of money from the publishing and movie rights and get checks in the mail.

Instead, I learned how hard work can be satisfying and learned that when everything comes together on the job it’s a beautiful thing.

Hey Cathy, I hope you’ve had a good life. I have.

And my hands ain’t soft anymore.

Grant McGee is a long-time broadcaster and former truck driver who rides bicycles and likes to talk about his many adventures on the road of life. Contact him at: bikedude@plateautel.net