Grits and Purls

Spinning yarns about the grit of life

In a column that I wrote almost a year ago, I discussed new socks as the key to a successful winter stimulus package.

This week, in recognition of the colder temps and oncoming fall, I would like to revisit the subject of socks.

Few experiences compare to putting on a thick new pair of socks, stretching your feet, wiggling your toes and letting them sink into the clean, warm softness on a cold snowy night, when the wind is howling and the doors and windows are rattling at Winter’s assault.

My mom understood this. She was always sending socks as Christmas gifts or birthday presents or in care packages. It may not sound like much, this small gesture of sending socks, but when I moved to the upper Midwest, just me and my two cats, it was so nice to open up a new pair of socks from The Sock Shoppe in Georgia and sink my feet into them after a day of lectures and teaching laboratories, wiggling my toes in their soft embrace.

Around the end of September, my husband decided to tackle the daunting project of staining the deck on the back of our house. He bought the stain and then inventoried the supplies we had in our basement: paint-can openers, blue masking tape, and a brand new unopened bag of shop rags. He added to that several pair of neoprene gloves, deck cleaner, buckets and a scrub brush, and the work began.

My husband worked alone on the first two days of deck cleaning and staining. When I came home from work the first day, he asked me why the bag of shop rags contained three new pairs of men’s dress socks.

“I don’t know.”

He pointed to them, and indeed there were three brand new pairs of men’s dress socks, complete with tags on them.

“They are nice ones, too.” He said.

“Hmm. I don’t know where they came from.”

I went on to prepare our dinner, all the while trying to figure out how three new pairs of socks got mixed up with the shop rags. It was particularly vexing because I had just bought several pairs of dress socks for my husband. Perhaps it happened when we moved, at the very end of the packing process when we were throwing things into boxes indiscriminately?

Then it hit me. Mom and Dad had sent a package of shop rags one Christmas.

“Hey, are those the shop rags my parents sent you that Christmas?”

“I don’t remember, why?”

“Because, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mom had put some socks in with those rags.”

I stopped preparing dinner and retrieved one pair of the socks. Sure enough the tag said “The Sock Shoppe.”

My mom passed away two-and-one-half years ago, yet just this day we received a present from her. Nothing big. Just socks. Stuffed in a bag of shop rags. But they had added a bit of mystery and a lot of smile to our day.

© 2009 Michele Arduengo. All rights reserved.

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7 thoughts on “A Little Mystery and a Lot of Smile

  1. The Divine Ms. M says:

    What a special gift, Michele…I am smiling, too.

  2. Jim the Nephew says:

    This absolutely put a smile on my face! When I was at VSU I loved the care packages of candy and socks. I hope the porch staining went well. If you guys need any help you can fly me up and take me to a packers game as payment ;).

    1. Michele Arduengo says:

      Well how are you at shoveling snow? Maybe we could work something out.

      Michele, the Aunt

  3. sylviamorice says:

    Isn’t it nice to have a reminder of your mom when you least expect it? My daughter told me that she still dreams of her Grammy, but she calls the dreams “visits from Grammy”. Perhaps your sock find was a ‘visit’ from your mom, a reminder that she is still in your heart. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Michele Arduengo says:

      Hi Sylvia,

      These little things are the most important treasures of life, and they keep the people we love always in our hearts.


  4. Alice says:

    How nice that must have felt. A lovely story and a loving memory from your mother to be remembered and shared. Makes me believe in angels.

    1. Michele Arduengo says:

      Hi Alice,
      I’m glad you enjoyed the story. It was a nice one to write, a little gift that I enjoyed sharing.


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