Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sock Shepherd

By H. Linn Murphy
I found this exact sock on the road while I was walking.

Let's talk about socks. We all have them in droves. Sometimes I feel as if I'm merely a glorified Sock Shepherd. I search for them. I find them. I usher them to the washer, returning for the stragglers, whistling for those hiding and lost. I'm seriously considering getting a sheepdog just for sock-herding. Surely getting matching pairs of socks in our piles of freshly laundered clothes will pay for the upkeep on the canine.

I thought I had trained my family to stand next to the washer when they remove their dirty clothes, so that they can slip them right into the washer. Apparently my thought processes were flawed. It was a grand idea until they told me they'd never be caught dead stripping down in the laundry room. Go figure.

Even my next novel idea drew 'The Stare'.
"Why not simply take things off in your room and toss them straight in the washer? It's even the lazy person's way to do it. You only have to pick the item up once and you're done. No fuss, no whining."

Most socks in this house (which are not mine or the Hubs' or my one clean child) reside on the floor a minimum of three months. At least that's how it seems when I examine the dust bunnies coating said foot apparel. I have herded them from beneath the bed, behind or in bookcases, from the back yard and in gym bags, out from under dressers, and from gigantic piles of like-minded clothing.

I say like-minded because by the time I find them all, most have grown sentient and mated with other non-matching socks to produce funky stretched-out ankle socks. I know this because I find socks I know I never bought. They had to have grown from a love match between two other denizens of the Underbed.

Growing up, we had a dryer which would often eat at least one stocking per load. We were certain that the sock monster resided somewhere in the depths of the big silver drum. For some reason we never once considered that they'd never made it to the dryer at all.

I have a basket for all the lonely socks left without their mates. Some stay a short time, released from their misery by the advent of their soul mate. Some have languished in the dregs of the basket for years. I haven't the heart to doom them to the trash because I know as soon as I do it, the other sock mate will reappear and give me that forsaken look that begs, "Why couldn't you have been patient just a little longer? Why?"

I wonder if somewhere there's a place (besides my basket) where the lost wait patiently for me to do their work--to reunite them with their loving families. There'll be tiny inhabitants who sidle up to me and whisper, "Too bad you didn't find me when the boy's feet were small enough to wear me." And I'll get all maudlin and mushy over the tiny survivor.
"Yep. Too bad he never learned to put his wretched socks in the washer," I'll say.

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