What Our Hands Can Do

I didn’t want to lend a hand.

It was nighttime and wintertime. My hands were warm in my pockets. My toes were dry in my cowboy boots. The nice kind that got compliments.

If I’d been alone, I’d have kept right on walking my warm, dry walk. Right on past the trapped little car with all four wheels spinning in the unplowed snow.

But I was with my mother. And there was a man, too. A man in big, loose jeans and big, loose, wet construction boots. He was up past his laces in unplowed snow. Calling out directions to the driver. And pushing against the trapped little car.

“Want more hands?” My mother was already moving towards him. Oh come on, I muttered to myself. It’s cold, that car’s plain stuck, we’re not going to make a difference here.

“The more, the merrier!” The man spoke in a big, loose Maine accent. My mother plunged into the snow. She was wearing striped socks.

I didn’t want to look like a nasty jerk on the sidewalk. So I followed. Resenting my mother and unplowed snow and this whole undoable enterprise.

“Alrighty,” the man boomed. “On three.” I took my hands out of my pockets. Placed them on the filthy wet car.

“One. Two. THREE.” And the striped socks, the wet laces, and the nice kind of cowboy boots gave a shove in the nighttime. The wheels spun. The trapped little car heaved. Then surged through the unplowed snow onto the pavement.

And I had a little rush. The kind that comes when we remember that our hands, if we take them out of our pockets, can do stuff like that. Stuff like make a difference here.

“There you go!” The man whooped. The driver thanked us. And we walked away from an undoable enterprise. That was now done.

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