A couple days ago, thirteen months after his death, Carol and my sister Amanda and I met to clear out his closet. He had a couple different shoe sizes, a range of pant sizes, and very consistent shirt sizing: 16-1/2 - 33. And he had about 30 pairs of socks. There was a rainbow of single-color Polo socks, a couple pairs of mild-mannered dress socks, and a bunch of themed socks: sailboats, Mozart, a souvenir pair from Canada. Most of these were gifts from Nadine.
Nadine is one of Dad's great friends. She lives up the street on 5th Avenue and her kids grew up alongside my half-brother. On the day Dad died, Nadine was doing dishes when she suddenly felt drawn his house. She ran down the street and came in to find a ring of family holding Dad as his life wound down.
She was there to join us in grief. She also joined in washing, anointing, and dressing Dad's body. It was her idea to put the Orcas Island socks on his feet, socks she'd brought him during one of his ultimate hospitalizations.
Carol let Nadine know that Tuesday was when we were clearing out clothing, and called her when Amanda and I arrived to see if she wanted to stop by and get a sock remembrance. Once Nadine saw the pile of socks, she was unable to do much more than choose one pair and cry. Carol escorted her home.
Now everyone in my household and Amanda's has a collection of Dad socks. Some also have shoes, or shirts, or belts. These items feel much more businesslike than the wool shirts and jackets I've been wearing since we spread his ashes in the Pacific Ocean, and I like having a mundane reminder of his presence in my life.
I like wearing socks with a history.