CapeWomenOnline - Where Cape Women Shine

Your local venue for the women of Cape Cod to share their ideas, experiences and resources while inspiring each other in their life's journey

Inspire . Encourage . Network . Share

Literary Women banner
  • Facebook icon
  • Share

Knuckles: The Way to a Better Me

by Debbie McNaughton

"Debbie, you're a talented writer with good material. Like a rose bush, you just need pruning!" These words appeared on the first page of my new book - I think that was a compliment.

It was 5am and my head was pounding as I rolled over to the lumpy side of the bed. At exactly 17 minutes past midnight I'd put the Times Square mayhem to rest, bringing a wild party to an end.

I'd then toasted the New Year again (and again) with my fourth goblet of Beringer's, alone, in my living room. When I finally reached for the lamp switch I noticed the book my friend had given me for the holiday:1019 Words to live in the Moment.

My friend's words continued, "Let it be known that you have been inducted today as a "Woman of the Word."

A 4x6 photo was taped to the page of a redheaded Celtic goddess standing fierce, a sword in one hand, a book in the other. Her open robe exposed breasts covered with a swirl of golden metal in all the right places. Wow, I bet that hurts! I could only imagine the words she had written in her book, 'I wish this bra was made out of cloth! I must talk with the blacksmith…'

Bird, bird, bird, b-birds the word. I sang a chant from a memory long ago. This guide of daily meditative language was sure to bring peace to my everyday life.

It was time to let go of the 17-year-old in my soul and become the new '50 something woman'. A one color blonde, defiant enough to burn my AARP draft card delivered each week, a goddess, strong, open to powerful verbiage. I had my newest New Year's resolution!

Forty winks and several aspirin later…

"Good morning, Albert," I said to my Einstein coffee mug. "It's a new year and our hair still looks like Ben Franklin had us hold his kite during the thunderstorm. Today, we meditate!"

My first word of the New Year was Knuckles. I knew this!

White knuckles, bare knuckles, brass knuckles.
Knuckle down, knuckle under, knuckle ball.
Knuckle head. A rap across the knuckles.
Knuckle sandwich.
Come on Einstein let's raid the fridge and take a break from this mental drudgery!

Read your word out loud and follow the exercise, the book suggested.
"Knuckles," I said loudly.

Place your hands on your knees and look at your knuckles, get to know them.

I'm not sure if it was Al or me who said, "Say what?"

I'd inherited the hands of my father. I remember in kindergarten, when we'd pressed our hands into a small paper plate of salt dough, Miss Fannie had replaced mine with a 9-inch dinner plate. She'd looked into my quizzical eyes and smiled. "You need a larger and stronger dish, Debbie."

Some may say my fingers are long and elegant, and could have played the piano with excellence and grace. Miss Fannie would've disagreed.

I resumed my intense study. I have ten knuckles. The middle one on the right hand is arthritic. (Memo to self: best to keep your hands on the steering wheel in traffic.) They're wrinkled, yet when I bend them the lines go away. I don't like to bend them as they look like stubs similar to the zombie I saw the other night on the SCI FY channel.

My black eye liner came in handy when I drew ten sets of eyelashes on my knuckles. Al needed a refill, so while I was in the kitchen I grabbed a bag of chocolate chips, ate a handful and sat at the kitchen counter. I placed a chip on each deep knuckle indentation, except my thumbs, since they kept sliding off. This was! I have eight eyeball knuckles and my thumbs wink!

You might ask what's the point in this meditation.

I asked Al the same thing. He didn't seem to know either.

You've just learned how to forget the worries and stress of your life and "be in the moment."

I was amazed. I did feel better. Who knew 10 knuckles could change my day? I'm psyched trying to imagine the wisdom the next 1018 words hold in store.

I turned the page to see what lay next. Soul

"Albert, the next word is a piece of cake! Remember Aretha…James Brown…SOUL train?"

No response.

"Come on Al, you don't have to be an Einstein to understand this word!"

Debbie McNaughton and Albert E. Mug have lived together for 5 years on Cape Cod. Together they enjoy Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and evenings by the fire with wine.

Einstein plans to enjoy Debbie's company and conversation until broke.

Debbie is a writer of short stories drawn from everyday life. She is a regular contributing writer to Cape Women Online and has also been published in Seeing the Everyday magazine.

She is a Member in Letters of the National League of American Pen Women and a member of Cape Cod Writer's Center.

Debbie welcomes emails at