From the mending basket...
|A Parable of Change
The big Japanese basket, with an attached lid and a frog to hold it closed, was more like a picnic basket than anything. Now in its dotage, its latch was less than secure, and it had become a sewing basket that sat complacently in the corner of the room near the window. In it were all the things Ann needed fors sewing: spools of thread, bobbins, needles and pins, scissors and buttons. Since Ann’s children had grown up and gone away, she seldom sewed anything new. This, then, had become the mending basket. Because of its out-of-sight location, it was piled with odd garments in need of repair. Ann had ignored the growing stack for quite some time.
“Aren’t you bored out of your skull?” said a voice from the mending basket.
“What? Who? “exclaimed Tam.
“You. You’re a ‘skullcap’, aren’t you?" Getting no answer, the sock muttered, "It's a joke.”
“Skullcap? No way, you idiot sock. I’m a tam o’shanter, a beret. “
“Oh-oh, a Frenchie. Voulez vous avec moi ce soir?”
“You’ve got that all mixed up. It doesn’t mean anything. You were trying to say, 'Voulez vous coucher...,' and so forth. Right? You were coming on to me?”
“Oh all right. Yes, I was. But, you see-- sob, sob-- I’ve lost my mate and I’m so….”
“And you’re a drama queen,” Tam interrupted. “You’ll make a great sock puppet. Can I call you Blackie?“
“Sure! Frankly, I’d be happy to have anything at all happen to me, wouldn’t you? I bet we’ve been here for a year and no one has done a thing about us.”
“Shhhh. Socks shouldn’t talk like that. You wouldn’t rather be a dust rag, would you?”
“I hadn’t thought about that! “ Blackie said, frightened. Then she perked up. “I hadn’t thought about being anything else except a lost sock with, maybe, my holes mended. Wow! I could be something different! What else could I be? Oh, this is exciting!”
“Let me think. You aren’t the right kind of sock to make a stuffed monkey out of. You could be the arms and legs and face for a little black doll though, unless there are too many holes in you.”
“That’s why I’m here: I’m full of holes. The dog chewed on me, ”said Blackie.
“That’s rough! Well, you could be a great polishing cloth.”
“Like for windows? I could make windows nice and shiny. I’d like that!”
“No, I think you’re too linty for that. But you could polish silver, or furniture. Or, here’s an idea: you could polish cars,” suggested Tam.
“How about airplanes?”
“Sure, airplanes too. I don’t see why not.”
“Say, you’re awfully friendly for being French and all. And where’s your accent?” asked Blackie.
“Alas, I was made in Taiwan,” Tam said, embarrassed.
“You were? Me too! Maybe we’re cousins! We don’t look much alike, but then not all families do.” Blackie chattered on. "I’m so glad we found each other!"
“I'm not sure we're actually related. I don’t think we’re even made out of the same stuff. I’m wool, and you’re cotton,” said Tam.
“And I thought you weren’t a snob! Was I ever wrong!” Blackie exclaimed.
“Wait. I didn’t say wool is better, just different. I’m warmer than you are.”
“Now you’re trying to make me feel bad.”
“No I’m not. I’m just pointing out the differences. You’re more absorbent. And moths eat me. See these tiny holes?” Tam asked.
“Well, dogs eat you,” Tam flung back.
“I guess you’re right. We’re just different. Still, I’m really glad to meet you. It’s been lonely in here, with my mate gone and all,” said Blackie.
Just then Ann came into the room. Surveying it for clutter to be dealt with, her eye fell on the overflowing basket.
“Mending!” Ann said. “Now there’s another thing I ought to do. I’ve been putting that off for months.”
“Years…” Blackie started to correct her, but Tam whispered, “Put a sock in it!”
“Well, nothing in here looks too urgent. I guess I can put it off a little longer,” Ann said.
“Whew!” said Tam when they were alone. “That was close.”
“Don’t you want to get mended?” asked Blackie.
“Look, fella, you may have an interesting life ahead of you yet, but there’s nothing much to do with an old, moth-eaten beret except to throw it on the trash heap.”
“Then I’m glad she left. I’d rather just hang around with you anyway. Maybe if we can put your head and my foot together, we can come up with a plan,“ Blackie suggested.
“I’ll do the thinking. You do the footwork.” They laughed.
“You’re really funny,” Blackie said. “Darn it.”
“What? Did I offend you again? I was just making a joke.”
“Me too. Darn it. That’s what holey socks say.”
“Holy socks? You’ve got to be kidding. Oh, I get it. ‘Darn’ it. You’re funny too.”
“Oh, oh. She’s coming back, and there’s somebody with her!”
“Now where is that red beret?” Ann said. “Oh, there it is. Good. What do you think, Sophie?” she asked, turning to the little girl. “Don’t you think we could make some nice red tongues out of this for the stuffed dogs? And this black sock will be good for the pads on their feet.“
Sophie nodded enthusiastically. “I get to help make them, don’t I?”
“Of couse you do,” Ann said, and gave her granddaughter a hug.
“Hey, friend, what do you say?” Blackie whispered. “It looks like a whole new life ahead of us.”
“Yep,” said Tam. “We’ll be together, too. And to think, I wanted her to leave us alone.”