Cyndi's Two Cents

In our hands

Commentary.

Late last fall I was honored to receive a lifetime achievement award for my career in farm broadcasting. It was incredibly humbling to share the honor with my friend, Dr. Jim Evans, University of Illinois Emeritus Professor of Agricultural Communications and Journalism. Although never a student in his classroom, I have been a student of his through the knowledge he has shared and by the example he has set.

Several members of my family came to Kansas City to watch and support me as I was inducted into the National Association of Farm Broadcasting Hall of Fame. We all got dressed up and a professional photographer took a lot of pictures. It was a wonderful ceremony and celebration, and I will be forever grateful that so many of the people I love were able to share it with me.

Looking through the pictures taken that night, it is easy to see how happy my siblings, my parents, my husband, niece, nephew, and I were in that moment. I notice how much my sister, my brother and I resemble one another. And I notice our hands.

In those pictures of us I see hands that have been exposed to all the elements in all the seasons, hands that have washed dishes, stretched wire, and built fence. I see hands that have worked on farm equipment, gathered eggs, carried 5-gallon buckets of grain, picked up rocks, swept, and planted seeds and plants in the garden. I see hands that have harvested tomatoes, asparagus and a long list of fruits and vegetables. Those hands have painted fences and shed roofs, swung hammers, pushed lawn mowers, tilled gardens, and unwrapped big round bales of hay. I see hands that have driven tractors and trucks, sprayed herbicides and insecticides with a hand-held sprayer, cuts weeds out of beans, scooped grain, scooped manure and filled planter boxes. Those hands have threaded needles, played musical instruments, written and typed millions of words. Those hands have pledged allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and waved hello and goodbye more times than I could count. I see hands that have picked up arrowheads, bucked bales, filled and placed sandbags, and changed a thousand diapers.

Hands. I have shaken a lot of them in my time on this planet. I have held a few as well: while grieving; while praying; when afraid; when sad; when joyful; when content.

I have held hands while leading and while being led.

My hands have lost their youthful fullness. Maybe I should have tried harder to protect them from the sun. Maybe I should have worn gloves more often while working and cleaning. But I hold a lifetime of memories in these hands that have held the hands of everyone I’ve ever loved.

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