50: Those Doggone Socks

50: Those Doggone Socks

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Married Life!

Those Doggone Socks

At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities.

~Jean Houston

Standing outside our first apartment watching the moving men unload boxes, I almost had to pinch myself to make sure this wasn’t a dream. For the first six months of married life three thousand miles separated us, courtesy of the United States Navy. Not to mention that the two years prior to our wedding found Joe on one coast and me on the other for many months at a time.

I stood on the threshold of my new career as wife and homemaker eager to unpack boxes and turn our first apartment into our first “home.” The only thing missing was a string of June Cleaver pearls and an organdy apron. No worries though, they were packed in a box somewhere.

The morning after arriving I woke up just as the first light of day crept through our bedroom window. With a stretch and a yawn I tossed the covers aside, hopped out of bed and slipped into the white chiffon peignoir robe that matched the gown my mother had given me at my bridal shower amid the winks giggles of many.

I tiptoed quietly lest I wake my adorable husband from his slumber. When I reached the door I stole one last glimpse at him snuggled under the comforter of our little love nest.

As I opened the bedroom door I realized a dirty sock was wedged between the door and the carpet. Poor thing! Joe was so tired from unpacking boxes he must have dropped his socks on the way to the hamper. I picked up the socks and dropped them into the hamper. Then off I went to prepare breakfast and pack my sweetheart’s lunch. What a thrill to be taking good care of my handsome husband.

When Joe was off to the Navy base I finished unpacking the boxes, hung a few pictures and prepared a sumptuous dinner of roast chicken with all the trimmings. We toasted our new home with chardonnay at dinner, ending another perfect day.

The next morning as I made the bed and was tidying up I noticed dirty socks on the floor once again. That was a little disappointing, but probably just a fluke.

By the third day I was officially annoyed. At the end of three weeks I was ready to spray paint his feet black so he’d never have to wear socks again.

“What is it with you and the socks?” I blurted out one morning at breakfast. Joe looked down at his feet and then at me. “What do you mean? What’s wrong with my socks?”

“Nothing right now. They’re still on your feet.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Your socks, buster! I’ve noticed they’ve never, not ever, not even one time navigated from your stinking feet to the clothes hamper. Surely you’re aware of this.”

“So you pick up my socks. So what? What’s the big deal?”

“The big deal is that I am not the maid. Not now, not ever. So you’d better teach your socks how to launch from your feet to the hamper all by themselves or you’ll find them some day in the last place you’d expect and I’m pretty sure you won’t be happy about it.”

I had laid down an ultimatum and meant it. But I had no clue how I’d follow through. Joe huffed out the door for the first time in our four weeks of marital bliss.

That night, dinner was quiet except for the gnashing of teeth. We successfully avoided each other all evening and I turned in early to get a head start on feigning sleep, then ended up tossing and turning all night. In the morning I got up and headed toward the bedroom door, once again treading on the dreaded dirty socks.

I don’t know how many people were sitting at the table when Joe bit into two dirty socks on rye with extra mayo but I bet none of them kept a straight face. I wasn’t really sure what to expect when he came home, but when we looked at each other neither one of us could stop laughing. That was twenty-six years ago. Near as I can figure, I’ve picked up roughly 18,980 dirty socks since that day, give or take a leap year or two.

I can’t complain though. Joe is a good provider and a mighty pleasant fellow. He’s always quick to unload the dishwasher and throw in a load of wash when necessary. In fact, now when his socks come off he lays them right on the dog’s back. Then Sammy our Yorkie dutifully trots over to the hamper and rolls over on the floor depositing the socks right next to it. After twenty-six years I’m confident that’s as close as socks are ever going to get to the hamper in this house. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.


~Annmarie B. Tait

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