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Friday, April 10, 2020

Hands



When Hannah was an infant, I had the night feedings. I loved it because it was she and I. After changing her diaper, I would feed her the bottle while her tiny fingers held onto my forefingers. Her eyes, almost frowning, studied my face. At times I would have to wake her up so she could finish her meal.

Emily was bigger baby and we could never feed her fast enough. Kim did most of her feedings with the bottle. I had my moments with her, though. When she could walk and when she was tired, she would wander over to me, climb onto my lap and fall asleep. I was like her teddy bear. While she slept, I would hold her tiny hand in mine.

Fingers small, hands tiny. Soft as velvet.

My mom died when she was 99. We had hoped she’d make it to 100, but she died nine months shy of her birthday. Because of arthritis, her hands and fingers were wrinkled and bent. Yet, soft to the touch, loving when she touched. My sisters and I share the arthritis and we’re pretty certain ours will become wrinkled and bent. We hope that ours will still be soft to touch, and loving when we touch.

When Wil was little, about seven or eight, we lived in California. Hannah was an infant. Shortly after we had adopted him, we traveled to Tijuana with my brother Jack who had come out to visit. Like many impoverished places, there were street sellers and some beggars. I think Wil was reminded of where he had come from and the life he had left behind.

He clung to Kim’s hand as we walked down the street. His eyes straight ahead, but we were sure he saw and took in everything. As he got older, he never spoke to us about that experience or what he felt. Kim and I and my brother were fairly certain he was frightened, maybe sad as memories flooded back to him. His life hadn’t been kind to him at all.

Touch conveys so much, doesn’t it?

I think many of us can remember a spanking or two. Maybe more. Perhaps a pointed finger when one parent or the other admonished us. When sad or hurt, arms held us, fingers pushed bangs out of our eyes or ran through our hair. I know I did that with our kids. Soft fingers wiped tears from our eyes, washed a wound, applied a bandage or two.

Hands held us, encouraged us. Moved us forward when we dawdled or were uncertain and needed someone else’s confidence in us. Hands held us back when we tried to cross the street at an ill-advised time.

Hands played catch with us. Hands taught us how to make paper airplanes. Hands helped us fish and held us as we learned to swim.

As we got older, there were other hands that shoved us, hit us, punched us, pushed us away and wouldn’t let us join. Those hands hurt us in ways beyond the physical, didn’t they? Sometimes, much more so.

Along with a smile, hands were the first form of communication we understood. Smiles, tears. The tone of voice came before the actual meaning behind the words, except for perhaps the word, “No!”

For many of us, today is a holy day. It is a day of reflection, of recognizing that our lives are owed to something and someone bigger. If you are not Christian – and I make no judgment at all - we are still part of humanity, and as a part of humanity, our lives are still owed to something and someone else.

Can each of us, this day and this weekend, consider our meaning behind how we communicate to one another, both in word and in touch? Can we decide today to be more gentle, more kind, more compassionate and considerate? Can we think of others and their needs, their concerns before our own- just for today (maybe for days to come)? I hope so. I pray so. Something to think about . . .

Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!

To My Readers:
My new book, Betrayed, will debut Nov. 12, 2020! It is a contemporary psychological thriller using some of the same characters from my previous work. It takes place on the Navajo Nation Reservation in northeast Arizona. I will post parts and passages on my author page on Facebook. I picked up three great advance reviews from three awesome authors:

“Adopted and bonding as a family, with histories of death, destruction and for some...abuse, these boys band together—ready to lay down their life for their new family—in order to find a missing friend before dangerous gunmen find them.

A whirlwind of adventure, relationships, protecting family, hair-raising situations, and cold betrayal.”
—Tina O’Hailey author of When Darkness Begins

“A boy goes missing in Navajo Nation, a family is killed. Onto the next adventure for three brothers, including one who grew up there, to search for him. As to be expected, danger awaits, but these are not ordinary teens. They have faced harrowing situations before, and now they will rely on the skills and experience they’ve developed to get through this one.

Once again, author Joseph Lewis has written a fast-paced psychological thriller mystery that immerses readers into a dark world few encounter.”
— Joan Livingston, author of the Isabel Long Mystery Series

“Betrayed is at once an emotional chapter in author Joseph Lewis’ continuing coming-of-age story and an intriguing thriller. Following both law enforcement and a group of teens searching for a missing boy on Native American land, Lewis’ latest also provides a unique view into Navajo culture. A layered story that explodes into a bullet-riddled climax.”
— Rick Treon, award-winning author of Deep Background and Let the Guilty Pay

Connect with me on Social Media:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor


Spiral Into Darkness:
Named a Recommended Read in the Author Shout Reader Awards!
He blends in. He is successful, intelligent and methodical. He has a list and has murdered eight on it so far. There is no discernible pattern. There are no clues. There are no leads. The only thing the FBI and local police have to go on is the method of death: two bullets to the face- gruesome and meant to send a message. But it’s difficult to understand any message coming from a dark and damaged mind. Two adopted boys, struggling in their own world, have no idea they are the next targets. Neither does their family. And neither does local law enforcement. https://amzn.to/2RBWvTm

Caught in a Web:
A PenCraft Literary Award Winner!
The bodies of high school and middle school kids are found dead from an overdose of heroin and fentanyl. The drug trade along the I-94 and I-43 corridors and the Milwaukee Metro area is controlled by MS-13, a violent gang originating from El Salvador. Ricardo Fuentes is sent from Chicago to Waukesha to find out who is cutting in on their business, shut it down and teach them a lesson. But he has an ulterior motive: find and kill a fifteen-year-old boy, George Tokay, who had killed his cousin the previous summer.

Detectives Jamie Graff, Pat O’Connor and Paul Eiselmann race to find the source of the drugs, shut down the ring, and find Fuentes before he kills anyone else, especially George or members of his family. The three detectives discover the ring has its roots in a high school among the students and staff. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CKF7696

Book One of the Lives Trilogy, Stolen Lives:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. http://tinyurl.com/Stolen-Lives-J-Lewis                      

Book Two of the Lives Trilogy, Shattered Lives:
Six men escaped and are out for revenge. The boys, recently freed from captivity, are in danger and so are their families, but they don’t know it. The FBI has no clues, no leads, and nothing to go on and because of that, cannot protect them. http://tinyurl.com/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis                        

Book Three of the Lives Trilogy, Splintered Lives:
A 14-year-old boy knows the end is coming. What he doesn’t know is when, where or by whom. Without that knowledge, neither he nor the FBI can protect him or his family. http://tinyurl.com/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis                                        

The Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Kelliher, 11-year-old Brett McGovern, and 11-year-old George Tokay are separate pieces of a puzzle. The two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out. http://tinyurl.com/Taking-Lives-J-Lewis

Photo courtesy of Cristian Newman and Unsplash

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Thank you for your comment. I welcome your thought. Joe