Wednesday, January 21, 2009

White Socks & New Beginnings

Some years ago, my husband -- whose favorite Christmas decoration is the Bah! HumBUG -- answered the question "What do you want for Christmas?" with "Nothing. If you have to get me something, get me something I can use -- something like white socks."

As I recall, there was more to his response. A bit of a rant, actually, about people buying stupid things that are more about what they think the recipients ought to like rather than what the recipients actually might like and about all the junk we end up with as a result.

If I remember correctly, his sons and I each took his comments to heart. He got a lot of white socks that year. Along with other items that we thought he ought to like.

One of our sons has made that a tradition, every Christmas since giving each of us a six-pack of white socks along with various other goodies.

I've come to look forward each January to pulling on a pair of just-out-of-the-pack, unworn, unstretched, not-yet-dingy white socks. Something about sheathing my calloused, buniony feet in fresh cushy cotton signifies a new beginning. New paths to walk, new trails to hike, new places to explore.

And don't we do that as a nation, too?

Every four years we pull a new fresh administration over 200-some years of walking together as a people.

But -- even if it lasts eight years instead of four, this administration will give way to another one, just as full of hopes and ideals and dreams. We know this administration will wear out eventually, just as the one before it did.

The elastic is going to lose its stretch and the tops will sag around our ankles. Thin spots will appear where our toes and heels have rubbed against our sneakers. Sweat and other stains will dull the pristine white.

For the moment, however, there is change.

There are new socks for new beginnings.

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