Friday, January 8, 2016

The Right Sort


            Yesterday, as I sat on my couch with a basket of freshly laundered and dried clothing in front of me, my thoughts wandered back to a time when my three children were young and still living at home. It was the sorting of socks that sent my mind wandering down memory lane. Sorting the laundry, even then, was fairly simple until it came to the mountain of socks. Sorting socks was often difficult, matching sizes, colors, designs and even the thickness and textures. Kids can run through a lot of socks.

            At the end of each sock sorting episode, there always seemed to be leftovers, stray socks without mates. They were still in good condition and their mate might show up in the next washing or two, so they were saved in a bag, box, or basket, sometimes hoping beyond reason that the lost sole might miraculously appear.
            After quite a few washings, I would empty the vagrant sock hotel onto the floor in front of me and slowly surround myself with socks sorted by color into small piles. Once they were separated, I would begin the laborious task of matching the sizes and textures. The socks I hated the worst were the colors of Navy blue and black. Most times they were the same brands, but the color lots or rib patterns were the only thing separating them. Often in frustration, if they were nearly the same, I would unite them. Who was going to get close enough to know?
            I rarely knew how long a single stocking remained in the dark, lonely isolation chamber and how often they were returned to a life of seclusion. It was only when one of the kids outgrew a certain size, could I actually allow myself to throw the incarcerated to be incinerated. Occasionally, when a certain patterned sock passed in front of me so often that I recognized it immediately and knew that there had been no match in any recent washings, I would reluctantly allow it to slip into eternity as well.

            I remembered as I sorted this laundry load of socks that I would soon have to party hearty. There was a basket near the bottom of my bed with socks waiting to party with me.

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