My daughter and I share a common love — socks. We love all sorts of socks, colorful ones, ones with polka dots or stripes or cute or crude sayings on them. We do disagree on their thickness and height, because I prefer tall and thick socks, going as far as doubling up my socks in cold weather, while Riva prefers thin and short socks. Socks are such simple things, yet they bring us much joy and pleasure.
The thing about socks is that I need them. The idea of putting on a pair of tennis shoes — or any shoes — without putting on socks is repulsive to me. That’s just the way I was raised. And the softer the sock, the more I love it. Sometimes, in the dead of winter, when the wind is howling outside and blowing snow into drifts, I put on my softest thin socks under thick, oatmeal-colored ones. This fills both my feet and my heart with warmth and comfort.
More than 20 years ago, I bought three pairs of socks from JC Penney. The socks were called “The Socks to Stay Home In,” and were so comfortable and soft, they felt as if they were made out of butter. I still own two of these pairs, and in one of them I waddled into the delivery room to give birth to my son, Sammy. I joked that they should change the name to “The Socks to Give Birth In.”
I am happy that over the last few years, socks have become trendy and sort of cool. There are even stores dedicated solely to socks — fun, colorful, humorous, with sports logos, cartoons, and famous paintings. And this year, I was blessed to receive a pair featuring my hero, Sherlock Holmes.
The eternal joke about Hanukkah is eight nights of crappy gifts, like underwear and socks, but we usually include at least several pairs of interesting or colorful socks as Hanukkah gifts for Riva — and they are always a hit. Although there was that one year when we (all right, I) got carried away, and wound up giving her four packages of socks (among other gifts). That was a bit too much, even for a sock lover.
A direct opposite of having to wear socks with shoes, there is just one thing I cannot do in socks — I can’t go to sleep wearing them. No matter how loose they are, I feel them on my feet, and it’s an uncomfortable feeling. I am jealous of anyone who can wear them for the night, and my husband gets the brunt of my cold feet — lucky for me he is an extremely tolerant man, and warms my feet, even if there is a jump and little yelp in the beginning followed by a bit of sleepy grumbling.
I am a knitter, but I do not want to knit socks, due to an irrational fear of making two completely different size ones. Maybe the fear isn’t that irrational, I am terrible at math and figuring out gage for measurement. It’s another reason I won’t attempt a sweater, I can just see the two different size sleeves I will make.
One of my favorite poets, Pablo Neruda, has a poem dedicated to socks. It’s called “Ode to My Socks” and it’s a brilliant poem. Do yourself a favor and look it up. And may you have comfortable and soft socks for the rest of your life.