Friday, December 17, 2010

Wherever You Can Find It

My Christmas sock collection, most of it.  Top row pairs.  Bottom row singles.  

It's a mystery.  Where did the mates go?  I know I wore three of the bottom-row residents not long ago--IN PAIRS.  Did my only-recently-former washing machine eat them?  And is that why the washer quit expelling water and we had to forge a new washer relationship only four years into what I'd thought was a life-long commitment?

I've worn holiday socks since looong before I turned silver.  A rebellion thing, probably.  Fourteen Decembers ago when I went to the hospital Monday-Friday every week to burn out wayward breast cancer cells, I wore a different pair every day.  Rebellion against cold halls and green paper gowns; pain and fear and fatigue.

It worked too. You have to smile at sparkly Christmas cats at your toes.  And remember life beyond fear and exhaustion.

I didn't think anyone else saw them.  Until the day I huddled on a hard plastic chair in a gray hall, trying to hold the flimsy gown closed while I waited for the radiologist.  

I kept my eyes on the floor until the wheels of a gurney rolled past and stopped beside me.  When I looked up, a young girl lay still under a blanket, her eyes slits in the white moon of her face.  

She glanced at me.  I smiled.  Her gaze shifted downward.  I didn't know what kind of cancer she had but I knew it was bad.  And her treatment as hard as the disease.  I understood why she looked away.  When life is the edge of death, you don't waste energy on small talk and questions from strangers.

She looked up into my eyes then and smiled.  "Nice socks."
Copyright 2009-2010 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. What a great story, congratulations to you and your socks! As for the singles, my sister and daughter both pride themselves on never wearing a matching set... they'd consider your collection perfect. :)

  2. I am not a sock person, but I am a story person and that was a great one. Wear your Christmas socks in good health and great cheer!

  3. For some reason, socks don't have that effect on me. But they seem to work for a lot of people, and I'm glad that boost YOUR spirits! I hope you find the lost singles....

  4. Yes, socks can keep us warm in more ways than one. Especially when they make us smile.

  5. Perfect story from a perfect memory. Christmas socks rock.

  6. A lovely memory from a bad time in your life dear Kathleen, I am so pleased that you made it and are here with us now, you are one great woman, very special to me.
    I am pleased that your socks gave that young girl a little moment of happiness.
    Yes socks always disappear around here, I have so many singles whose partner has disappeared, I don't know if they get caught in the washing machine, if the birds pinch them from the clothesline along with my pegs, it is a mystery.
    They are probably off somewhere in the world with the missing pens. :)

    xoxoxoxo ♡

  7. Sorry, Kathleen. A full appreciation of my following comment requires information known only to a handful of your oldest friends. But that is another story, and only you can tell it -- maybe in one of your future blogs? Nevertheless, right now, I am compelled to make the comment.

    I am confident that someday, one-by-one, you will stumble across the matching mate to each one of your collection of single Christmas socks. It will happen when you least expect it, or more accurately, not expecting it at all. Perhaps when you are searching under your sofa cushions for a raisin dropped from a breakfast muffin; or behind your stove while chasing a shiny new dime that rolled like crazy when it slipped out of Denny's hand; or maybe one of your kitties will inadvertently lead you to one of their secret places -- a place where said kitties are forbidden to go. Upon each discovery, I can hear you exclaim, "THE SYSTEM WORKS!" as you calmly collect the missing sock and pair it with its partner - the universe having been re-stabilized.

    Good hunting. Wilson

  8. Oh, that was a perfect nugget of a story. The build-up, the shock of you with cancer, the surprise of the end. I loved it.

  9. Hi Kathleen,
    a wonderful christmasy story: very moving!
    Take care, and stay warm these days,

  10. A great, real, Christmas story, Kathleen. Thanks for sharing it and so glad you are here. Merry holly days!
    x0 N2

  11. Wish I had written Elizabeth's comment. Perfect.

    I love clever socks, too. How great is to wear something that keeps you comfy and also makes you smile? It was freezing here last night. I wore a black knit mini-dress and knee-length candy cane-looking socks -- the kind with individual toes. Buck laughed out loud and told me I was "cute as a speckled pup." How about that?!

  12. Wonderful story, Kathleen, thank you for sharing it with us. I don't have Christmas socks, but I do have a lot of single socks. Wonder what ever happened to their mates?

  13. That story made me sniffle. I regret not being there for you when you were going through that ordeal. I'm glad that Denny was. Love you.

  14. Sister, please no regrets. You've been an amazing sister, friend, wife, mother, daughter, caregiver for decades and done more than anyone I know to bring happiness.

    I'm well now and I don't regret that time. I learned more about life from a few months of facing death than from all the years before.


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