DECORAH — I put these socks on tonight because the only place to work undisturbed on my Macro homework was my chilly, compact bedroom.
Moments after I had slipped on the blue and reddish wool-blends, I felt the cold, hard tile of an empty church hallway beneath my feet. The picture in my mind was of a weekend retreat, the third of five of a youth leadership training program. I have vivid memories of all five retreats, but for some reason these socks take me back to that January weekend with the snowball fight. The warm, carpeted floor of the room hung with pictures of the girl I lost (not that I ever actually had her). The cold, hard tile of that hallway.
If I gazed through my sock drawer, I am sure I would find many more stories, many more places. I know, for instance, in there sits some mottled gray wools with holes that could reminisce about cold weather weekends with my dad when we would go deer hunting with some of his brothers and good buddies. They might also tell of the times they served to replace the ripped cloth in my hunting boots. Perhaps, though, they would just complain about being neglected of late, in favor of the two newer pair of softer, less itchy wool-blends; the ones that talk of churches and also speak of sandals. Or maybe they would fault the thick black dress wools with the elastic all stretched out (they have tales to tell about frigid Christmas Eve nights when my sisters and I would throw reindeer food on the roof and lawn) for being part of a tradition I have followed the last five years.
I suppose it is possible there may be, somewhere in this house, some white cotton tubes with colored bands around their tops that remember back seven or eight years to when I thought it was the style to wear them stretched all the way up to my calves. I’m not sure why I continued to wear them that way, even after my classmates informed me that Nike midcalf socks were much more fashionable. I am also not sure if I will wear my old, gray wools again. Nor am I sure why this pair I am wearing right now wants so desperately to be roaming the hallways of a church late at night.
I am, however, sure of one thing — in the time it has taken me to write this, I have remembered much that I have forgotten, and even learned a little about myself.
All thanks to my socks.