A thumbs-up for the simple things we should never take for granted

Country Living with Francis Farragher

We’ve all read the articles and books about taking the simple things of life for granted like simply waking up in the morning, breathing, being reasonably healthy and enjoying a good night’s sleep but after a minor little setback a week or two ago, I have another to add to the list.

A relatively minor slip in the farmyard one morning took my right thumb out of action for the best part of a week. Nothing too serious . . . a bit of swelling and pain with the ‘bonus’ of busted nail thrown in for granted.

Of course, the ‘man factor’ has come into the equation here and it brings to mind a word used if ever as kids we cried too much if we fell off the bike or cut our fingers when picking stones. (In those days, gloves didn’t figure on any rural shopping list for adults not to mind children).

“Come on, stop cryin’ and don’t be such a peata,” was what we really didn’t want to hear as the tears gradually melded into a sulk so we had to ‘man up’ and accept our little setbacks. However, whether justified or not, most of us males are accused by the ‘other sex’ of feeling really sorry for ourselves if the nose starts to run; the chest wheeze returns; or the dodgy back starts to play up again.

Those are my pleas of mitigation as I looked down fretfully at a right thumb which would do absolutely nothing for me in terms of the routine tasks that such a humble little limb undertakes without a grumble day-in, day-out.

It all started with trying to close the shirt button on the left cuff, a completely impossible task, without the right thumb while an effort at shaving with the left hand alas drew blood on more than one occasion.

As my respect for my right thumb grew with each passing minute this was matched by absolute disdain at how useless my left hand was. An attempt to cut open an envelope with a scissors, albeit a slightly blunt one, using the ciotóg proved to be a fruitless exercise as I realised that for the past part of a half-century, this left hand had generally gone through a life of idleness.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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