From November 14, 2014
“My toes are just so cold,” Abe said, coming into the kitchen, his hair still damp from his morning shower. “Even the shower won’t thaw them out.”
Rachel looked up from the newspaper and smiled. “I keep telling you,” she said, popping a foot up off the ground so Abe could see it. “You need a pair of these! Fluffy purple socks!”
Rachel had been on about the purple socks for weeks since her sister had given then to her. Knuckles, their hound dog, looked at the socks longingly.
Abe sighed and poured Cheerios into his bowl. The cold snap freezing town seemed to be lasting longer than a snap rightfully should, Abe thought. If it’d just get above zero, he’d be fine.
Two weeks later and the extreme cold hadn’t let up. The weathermen were declaring it the coldest winter in twenty years. Abe’s toes were utterly frozen, no matter what he did. Even snuggled into bed they remained icy points on the end of his body. Rachel, who’d worn the purple fluffy socks none-stop, continued to tout their virtues anytime Abe mentioned his frosty toes.
Ten days before Christmas Abe entered the kitchen to find Rachel sobbing. Her feet were bare, pale and slightly blue. In her hands she clutched something purple. In the corner, Knuckles was looking rather forlorn. Bits of purple fluff were scattered around his bed. It took Abe a moment to put the scene together.
The purple socks were gone.
“I’ve called everywhere,” Rachel cried. “The socks are sold out at every single store in town.”
Now Abe, he couldn’t quite believe that and each night after work he began to prowl the aisles of every store in their small town. Christmas crept closer and he began to get desperate. Rachel’s toes were a shade of purple and a smile hadn’t graced her face sine the death of the socks.
On Christmas Eve, in despair, he approached one of the store clerks at Clothing, Etc.
“Please, I’m looking for purple socks,” Abe said, feeling slightly foolish. “Fluffy ones.”
The clerk shook his head. “We sold out of those about a month ago,” he said.
Abe thought he might cry then. There was nothing else in the world that Rachel wanted, nothing else that would make her smile through the long months of winter.
“We do have a new sock though,” the clerk said. “Fuzzy pig socks. Haven’t quite taken off like those purple ones, but they’re warm. See?”
He lifted his pant leg to reveal a pair of cheddar-cheese-yellow and wine-purple socks.
“And this is the best part.” The clerk pulled off his shoe.
On the toe of the sock was a little pig face, complete with cherry-red dimples and pop up purple ears.
“Ernie! Put your shoes on,” the manager said as she passed them. “That isn’t professional.”
“I’m trying to help this gentleman,” the clerk, Ernie, said in protest, but he put on his shoe. “So, what do you think?” he said to Abe.
Abe shook his head. “I need those purple ones.”
“There are just as good,” Ernie said. “Take my word on that. Here, why don’t you try them and if they don’t meet your needs, bring them back.”
“They’re for my wife,” Abe said.
“How do you think I ended up wearing them?” Ernie winked. “I’ll throw in an extra pair, for you.”
“Oh, that isn’t really necessary,” Abe said.
“Trust me,” Ernie said, handing Abe the bag with the socks.
Later that night after Rachel was asleep, Abe got up to wrap the socks and stick them under the tree. His toes were so cold they felt as it they might just snap off. He slipped on his slippers, but they did little to fix the problem.
Abe pulled the two pairs of socks from the shopping bag and began to measure the wrapping paper. The little piggy faces seemed to be smiling at him knowingly, urging his to let go of his reservations. Some things, like toes, were more important than manliness, the said.
Abe sighed and started at the socks. “Oh, what the heck,” he said and reached for a pair of the piggies.
With boots on, no one would ever know.