She gardened with gusto, she almost never wore shoes in the garden or around the place either. She had a razor sharp hoe, but when it got to the nitty gritty, she got into the dirt and pulled weeds with her hands.
She never wore gloves. I'm not sure there were gardening gloves back then for women. You just went out into the garden and got your hands dirty.
I can recall going over to her house to get her. Mom was going to get in the car and we were all going to go to town.
Grandma was in her house with a scrub brush soaping her fingertips and scrubbing away at the dirt that had embedded itself into her fingers.
I always thought it was neat how the dirt made the lines in her hands stand out.
I learned to understand that she didn't. She didn't like the dirt that was embedded and tried to get it out before she went anywhere public. Especially to town.
She explained once that the women in town didn't have dirt in their hands like hers.
I didn't understand it when I was young, but I think the town ladies looked down on the ones who lived in the countryside and worked 'in the dirt'. I saw it as cool and a sign that my Grandma Pearl was tough as nails.
She wasn't a soft lady who drank tea and always wore dresses.
I think her hands embarrassed her when she was around the church ladies or town people. It never bothered me, I liked her rough hands. They were nice to hold as a child.
I looked down at my hands after pulling weeds in the perennial garden this year. The gloves were still in my back pocket. I always intend to wear gloves when weeding and pulling, but they always come off.
My hands become embedded with dirt and sometimes the hardest scrubbing won't take the dirt out. I find myself then thinking about those hands of Grandma's and I smile a bit.
"A little dirt never hurt anybody," she was fond of saying.
I think she was right.
I do love getting my hands into the soil. It just doesn't feel right with gloves on. You can't feel the roots of the plant you are pulling out.