Have a good look at ya hands, see all the calluses, the scares, the ragged nails, the lines across the palm of your hand, the lumpy knuckle and crooked thumbs, the hard skin, and appreciate all the work and abuse that they have been used for over the years. Burnt and scalded, cold and frozen, they are electrocuted on the fencer, and are ripped on the barbed wire, they scratch when you itch and they comb ya hair, they write your cheques, and are put forwards to receive, they lift your pint, and they feed you, what more could you expect from a loyal pair of hands.
I had the skin on the end of my index finger ripped off, at the time I thought it would have made a good tap washer, (they used to be leather)
Hands , they take a lot of rough treatment around the farm, my own father lost two fingers as a lad in the blade of a horse drawn mowing machine, see the tag Fingers for the full story on that and the poem "Fathers Fingers". Another chap who does a bit of my machinery maintenance for me, (the sort of jobs where ball bearings are likely to run all over the yard or where its difficult to get access to), he has lost quite a number of fingers, another lad who left school at the same time as me he lost three fingers on one hand in the first few months of leaving school, and left him with a little finger and a thumb.
Myself I had a bit of a close shave when I had the skin off the end of my index finger ripped off, about the size of a sixpence, the chunk of skin at that time I thought it would have made a good tap washer, ( the old tap washers were always leather) I thought I had lost that finger print for ever. Its taken a couple of years for it to become tough enough to use as normal but now five years down the line its still not as thick skinned as the other nine. And yes I do have a finger print again but do not know if it is identical to the one that was torn off.
A Hand Can Tell Your Fortune
A hand can tell your fortune, and fingers for the prints,
Nails to stop them getting ragged or they look like splints,
To have a scratch or comb ya hair, reach in a bag o mints,
Useful for when ya want to eat, ya shepherds pie and mince.
Everyone has long arms, and what is on the end,
To reach around the corner, in the middle bend,
Fingers at the far end, for feel on these depend,
To hold them all together, a hand and palm extend
Hands are thin, hands are fat, some are large or small,
Most are there to match the body, writing with a scrawl,
Picking up and carrying, everything's a bloody maul,
Big hand for goal keepers, to grip and hold the ball.
Put ya hands together, and in appreciation clap,
With ya hand closed tight, on a front door tap,
To congratulate a friend, on the back you slap,
Sitting in ya armchair, hand clasped in ya lap.
You hand in your home work, but its hand outs that ya like,
Its hands that you steer with, when out on ya bike,
And its hands that you sing down, holding a black old mike
When you look at them together, they both look alike.
There's a left hand and right hand, and each has its own side,
When ya want to rest them , in ya pockets hide,
Writing's only done with one hand, to the pen applied,
Other holds the paper, only there to guide.
Hands you hold each others, a helping hand to give,
Sharing out and a caring, with your hand relive,
A whole lifetime together, whole lifetime we live,
Holding hands together, each other must not outlive.
Countryman (Owd Fred)
I have lost count on how many finger nails went black and dropped off after being pinched or hit with a hammer, and talking about finger nails, you often get a ridge across your nails growing out of the cuticle (if that's the right word) after some deep emotional shock. You see it some weeks after calves have been dehorned, they get a ridge growing out round the top of the hoof, the same with horse's hooves, it marks the time of stress such as laminitus,and you can tell how long ago it happened by how far to the end of the nail or hoof it is. Stress marks can be seen on cattle with horns, and you can always tell how many calves a cow has had by the number of rings or ridges round the base of the horn.
The first numbering of cattle that father did was with a set of branding irons, not the ones the cowboys used on the hides, Kansas would tell us all about that, but smaller ones to burn the number into the horn or when we started to dehorn the cattle they were branded on the hoof.
Hoof branding was okay, but the hoof grows and the number had to be re-branded in again each year, and not only that you could only read it when the hooves were clean.
The first ear tags we had that had the herd number on as well was when we went TB tested and got an all clear herd, and every cow had a tag. The boundary fences had to be double fenced, and we got a bonus on the milk produced on top of the farm gate price. The milk cheque came around the 20th of the following month, as it did for everyone, and was a long strip of type written paper, with only one line with the milk delivered and the price given and the total, now we had a second line on the chit with the bonus for being tested. It bore no resemblance to the milk chits that come now all spit out of a computer with a couple of lines for additions and umpteen lines of deductions and penalties.
So have a good look at ya hands, see all the calluses, the scares, the ragged nails, the lines across the palm of your hand, the lumpy knuckle and crooked thumbs, the hard skin, and appreciate all the work and abuse that they have been used for over the years. Burnt and scalded, cold and frozen, they are electrocuted on the fencer, and are ripped on the barbed wire, they scratch when you itch and they comb ya hair, they write your cheques, and are put forwards to receive, they lift your pint, and they feed you, what more could you expect from a loyal pair of hands.
We were always told, if we were not getting on with the job at hand to "PULL YOUR FINGER OUT".
It was on my fifth birthday that papa put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Remember my son, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one on the end of your arm'Sam Levenson. (1911 - 1980)