Cold hands

I have been grumpy, frumpy, and downright dumpy lately. If you have been, as well, take heart. January is work both physically and mentally for some people. The struggle, as the kids say, is real.

It is hard not to take January in Minnesota personally.

Those were my thoughts this morning when I checked the weather and made the decision to head to town for groceries before the rest of the world stopped for milk and bread on its way home from church. My car hadn’t been out of the garage since last Tuesday. I kicked the frozen slush chunks out of the wheel wells, started it, and made my way (slowly) into town on icy roads.

At the store, I shuffled up and down the aisles in my Sorels, tossing in all the things on my list as fast as I could, which wasn’t very fast at all, actually. It is hard to be speedy in Sorels. I began to sweat because of the long underwear and down jacket I was wearing and peeled off my gloves. Everything is more difficult in January, I complained to myself. Everything is harder. Even grocery shopping.

At the check-out, I was behind a pleasant-looking young woman in a fleece jacket. She had longish blonde hair and looked to be in her thirties. Her cart was only about half full. Good, I thought. This won’t take long. I shifted my weight and waited. And then waited some more. Here’s why…

The young woman was unloading her grocery cart. Without hands. Carefully and masterfully. An item at a time. It was not until she got to the full length mirror in the cart and struggled to lift it that the cashier and I both realized that both arms ended at the wrists. I asked if I could help and so did the cashier. She told us she could do it herself. I told her I was amazed at how well she was managing. She smiled and told me she was new at it. I watched as she loaded her bags and walked out of the store. I thought about how pushing a shopping cart across a parking lot full of ice and snow had to be so much more difficult without hands. How managing a key in a car door lock was accomplished without fingers. How hauling grocery bags into the house and putting everything away on a cold January morning would take much longer for her than it was going to take for me.

And so, if you have also been feeling a little grumpy, frumpy, and kind of dumpy this month, I have the perfect cure for what ails you. Look down at your hands right now.  I have been doing it the whole time I’ve been typing this.

Really.  Look at your hands. Notice them. Are they cold? Good.

That’s good.






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