This essay comes from Phil Kline, a wonderful playwright and author of the recent book of essays, Growing Old, Ungracefully. The writing prompt that inspired Phil was “Unmatched socks.”
After having served in the army for twenty-eight years, when my dad died, he was buried in his full dress uniform except for a pair of socks that didn’t match his uniform. They were bright red. He had a remarkable record, having served on the staff of General Dwight Eisenhower, Commanding General of the Allies during World War II and on the staff of General Walton Walker, Commanding General of American forces during The Korean War.
For his display in an open casket, my mother decided she would have him wear his favorite pair of socks, the red ones.
I kept the tradition going by wearing red socks each of the eleven times I rode DALMAC, a three hundred and fifty mile bicycle ride from Lansing to and across The Mackinac Bridge. Sixty miles into the last day of the trip, one year, I was stopped by a woman standing in the middle of the road. It was Noelle Clark, a friend. She saw it was me from a distance because of the red socks.
When my two sons were married, they and their wedding parties wore red socks. At my daughter’s wedding, she didn’t wear red socks, but her future husband did. I still have a pair, which I’ll wear one more time, but someone else will have to put them on me.
©2015 Phil Kline
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