Of Socks and Spring


Last week my daughter’s third grade class read a book called The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks by Nancy McArthur. I had time to finish the first chapter while Kathie had the book at home, (I want to finish it sometime). That was enough of the story to sense the “Jack in the Beanstalk” type fantasy that was building. I expect that the main character, a boy who is a packrat, watches a bean plant grow in his messy room and develops a taste for his lost-in-the-shuffle-but-ever-present dirty socks.

I have never found a plant looking like this among our houseplants, but I’m suspicious that something like it might be thriving under our dryer. Maybe it is lurking in the bottom of the hamper. Where ever it is, we have one.

I have a stash of single socks that has been accumulating for the past two or three years. I keep them in one section of drawer and they change from week to week. Some of the these lone socks find their mates after only one week. Some renegades take refuge from the washing for an extra week by hiding under the beds. One lonely “sole” was caught in the corner of a fitted sheet for a time before it finally revealed itself while a bed was being made. Yet, others have been gone for months.

I just checked them so I could give you the official count. There are 18. Right now we have four black (one of these is slightly gray from bleach), one navy, two purple (different shades), one each of blue, pink and green, six white, and two white with red trim around the top. Yes, there are two white with red trim that are not a set; one has a bow – one doesn’t. How can we have that many stray socks? Where are they?

I did have hopes of finding them, but now that I’ve seen that book… Beware sock eating plant! Today our socks; tomorrow our toes!

* * *

With melting snow and muddy earth underneath, my boots tracked in on the floor I just mopped.

The temperature dropped below 30 degrees as the sun sank lower, but it felt mild when I was out to retrieve our dog’s dishes. We have two that we rotate: one goes out with the food / the empty comes in. It usually works well, but, somehow, last night neither dish found its way back into the house. Did I really feel a difference in the angle of sun’s warmth, or was it just that I know it’s March? Spring is on my mind, and it’s on the cardinals’ little minds, too, because they are singing their “pretty, pretty, pretty” song.

My brother told me he saw a red-winged blackbird last week. He reminded me that that is a sure sign of spring. A few days after the first blackbird appeared, more than a half dozen were clustered around his feeders. This scout had taken word back to the rest, “Found a place with lots of food. Follow me.”

We’re ready for spring. Spring cleaning? Don’t worry; that’s a thing of the past, well… unless you are missing 18 socks.


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