Cyndie Goins Hoelscher
“Do you see the folded leaves in the
foreground?” she prompted. They are very dark, not quite within the
“Yes, I see them,” I quickly added some dark spikes in the
foreground which successfully yielded a three dimensional element to
"You have such a nice touch,” she smiled. “I’m going to check
on the others. Do you have any questions?
I shook my head, as she moved off to the flower gardens
where the other students were busy sketching.
“A nice touch,” I shuddered. When have I been told that
My pencil worked methodically while a memory tugged at
my heart. I remember performing at a music recital at the tender
age of seven. I felt like a princess, wearing a long pink gown with
white polka dots, which my grandmother had sewn for me for the
special event. My long, brown hair was brushed straight and flat,
held back with a white velvet headband. Still, I was nervous about
performing because it was my first judged event. I recognized my
name on the loud speaker, summoning me to the stage. I promptly
took my seat at the Steinway piano, noting that the bench was too
high and my feet did not reach the pedals near the floor. I had
never touched the elegant keys of a Steinway before, and it was much
grander than the small upright piano back home. I do not remember
breathing as my fingers rushed through the musical piece, but
somehow I finished the entire score without passing out.
Afterwards, each music student was called to the head
table, where judges delivered individual oral and written
“Your counting was off and you seemed to completely
ignore the dynamics of the music, but you played fairly well
overall,” one judge said.
“Did I win a medal?” I asked sheepishly.
“No, but you have a nice touch with the music,” he
“A nice touch.” I beamed happily, although I had no
clue of what the judge was saying.
But that memory was outmatched by what was to follow
several decades later.
When my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer, my
husband and I moved in to care for her. I cooked her meals and
tended her rose garden for her when she became bedridden. In the
mornings, I lovingly bathed her, remembering childhood times when
she cared for me so tenderly. After the bath ritual, I squeezed out
a generous amount of aloe lotion, rubbing her sore back, her
shoulders, her arms and feet. “You have such a nice touch,” Granny
murmured as I worked the soreness out of her weary muscles, her
frustration at being dependent after so many years of independence
laced every word. The hospicee nurses praised my grandmother every
time they visited her in her home. They assured her that she had
the softest and prettiest feet of all their patients.