Hands Giana

Our family is spread across several states and so, given in-laws and divorced re-married persons….  who gets to share the traditional holidays with whom is always a bit complicated and changes year to year so everyone eventually gets a turn to celebrate together.

This Thanksgiving, I was with my daughter who lives in Queens, NY and enjoyed several days with her, my son-in-law and my grandaughter…an inner-city holiday instead of a feast on the New England coast.

Queens 3 ed Window (2)

Inner city apartments, though charming, have very small, tight kitchens with little counter space, but still, the food that comes out of that somewhat cramped utilitarian room can be awesome when prepared with love. Three pairs of feminine hands, each in a little corner worked magic to bring about our delicious feast later in the day. These hands spanned three generations preparing theThanksgiving feast that included most of the traditional foods that came out of my side of our family…recipes of my mother, passed on and prepared each Thanksgiving by me when I was raising my girls and our family, and this time, prepared by my daughter L and myself. These traditional family contributions to the celebration included my mother’s recipes for pineapple cabbage salad, stuffing with sausage and herbs, and my own signature cranberry orange relish with cinnamon,  golden raisins, chopped pecans and a dash of triple sec.

My thirteen year old grandaughter had been captivated by a youtube tutorial for making dinner rolls and she was excited to make her first-ever batch of dough. I helped with experienced suggestions and cheerleading along the way as she followed the youtube directions on her cell-phone. She especially loved watching the yeast magically bubble up into becoming “alive” and then kneading the dough from a sticky ball into a silky shiny pliable entity to be shaped into the rolls. Her beautiful long youthful fingers and sturdy palms brought about the transformation. I noted the young smoothness of her skin, and that her hands favored her mother’s hands, that of my daughter L.

Hands Giana

My daughter L was really the Queen of the kitchen and all preparations, moving efficiently in that small space preparing most of our feast…the turkey, the dressing, the pineapple cabbage salad and timed cooking of everthing all in an organized one-by-one sequence full of grace and intelligence.

This daughter does not like her picture taken and I have been given orders to NOT post her on FB! BUT! AHA! I caught a picture of HER hands preparing  our family stuffing..I note that her hands are the proto-type for her daughter’s hands and I also note that her hands favor her father’s hands and fingers, though much more feminine. Beautiful long fingers that are as strong as they are pretty…. Wedding rings a sign of partnership and a loving family life. It is mid-life here in those hands…


For many years I was Queen of the kitchen preparing and cooking for the holiday feasts and so I appreciate the complexity of planning, shopping, preparing, timing and cooking to pull it all together. Now as Noni, I prepared my special donations in advance of the visit because I have time that I did not have in earlier years. I am not the main cook now, but an assistant and so my hands chopped the veggies…the turnips, the sweet potatoes and white potatoes. I notice the years of my life in older hands and fingers,  less smooth and supple with wrinkles and note that my hands have turned into my mother’s hands..their shape not at all like my daughters, who, again, inherited their father’s fingers, not mine. No wedding rings, having gone solo in my early 30’s. But they are ever busy in my own at-home kitchen in which cooking is still a passion, as well as making music on my piano. They, my hands, are older, but wise, creative and capable (though sometimes a little stiff)

Queens Noni hand-sED (2)

I am ever and always amazed how stories, personal memories and inspiration can be found no matter where we are or what we are doing if we can see with the eyes of our hearts and imagination. Many other lovely things happened with this part of my family over these visiting -together days of Thanksgiving, but the “hands” of Thanksgiving gave me pause to reflect on the passage of time and the holy in the ordinary.

For the hands of these three generations, I give thanks.

From Christine, the Greening Spirit

btw:  G’s dinner rolls were a success!