This is my left hand. It’s not the most nimble of hands, but it serves me well, and since I’m a fully committed southpaw, that’s a good thing. I worked it hard this week, along with its partner, and a monstrous aerator I used on the lawn gave them both a pretty good beating.
Hence the spots: my hands are a constant reminder that I’m getting older. Being 57 doesn’t feel nearly as old as I thought it would at 27 or 37, but there are frequent indications that I’m no longer a spring chicken. My aching back after an afternoon of yard work, for example, and those spots on my hand. The skin has grown so thin there that I don’t even have to cut myself to bleed: a good bump on the back of my hand can bust it open, a lesser knock leaves me with those lovely purple spots.
These are Doc Watson’s hands. On Sunday I got to hear the first half of a rescheduled-because-of-rain concert today before needing to leave for a friend’s ordination service. Doc and all-around picker/music historian David Holt were both crowd pleasers at the N.C. Art Museum, where concert-goers are more likely to come back from the concession stand carrying a bottle of wine with a plastic cup turned over the top than a beer (customer limit: two beers or one bottle of wine).
This was about the fourth time I’ve attended a Doc Watson concert thinking it might be the last time I get to hear him play, but he’s like a bluegrass picking Energizer bunny … he just keeps coming back. Doc, who has been blind since early childhood, is 86 years old, but his distinctive voice was as resonant and his playing as pure as when I first heard him pick and sing 25 years ago.
I think I’ll stop complaining now.
Professor of Old Testament at Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, North Carolina, and the Contributing Editor and Curriculum Writer at Good Faith Media.