The Counting of the Socks
Being married to a Scoutmaster keeps life interesting. An
example is a ritual he and I performed so often we finally gave it a name. We call it
"The Counting of the Socks". It takes place every summer just after he returns
from Scout Camp.
When parents outfit their sons for Summer Camp, that
usually means an extra pair or two of Scout socks. For most of my husband's Scoutmaster
years, they were green knee length socks with bands of red at the top. After wearing, the
Scouts would wash and hang their socks on the Troop clothesline. Somehow, those socks
mysteriously multiplied while on that line. At the end of Camp, fluttering in the breeze,
in all its glory, would be a line of Scout green and red that resembled those little
colored flags that mark a grand opening sale or a model home. When asked, no Scout was
ever missing any socks. My husband would collect them from the line, bring them home, and
put them in the laundry along with his other Camp clothing.
When clean, the socks were put in a bag to be taken to the
first Troop meeting in the Fall. At that meeting, he would offer the bag of socks to the
Scouts. Always, the Scouts thought it was "neat" and "cool" to get a
free pair of socks. In all the years, no one has ever reported a pair missing, and no one
ever claimed to find his own socks (even though they were supposed to be marked).
As my sons outgrew a pair, I added it to the bag. (I
didn't need them multiplying in my house, either.) I must have missed a pair or two,
though. I was just going through a closet to collect clothes for the homeless shelter. In
back, on a top shelf, I found a bag. Let's see, one pair, two, three. . ..