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The missing sock mystery continues
JANE online
JANES COLUMN this week talks about pairs. Pairs of socks and pairs of earrings that end up as singles. Cranes, however, stay together for life. Sandhill Cranes are appearing in our area as part of their spring migration.

VIOLA - I often wonder if all the single earrings I’ve lost are somewhere having a wild party with all the lost single socks.

When my daughter was little, I started a cold-weather family tradition. On a Friday evening I’d yell, “Let’s have a sock party!” Jessica would come running with all her socks cradled in her arms. I’d pull out my whole sock drawer and we’d meet on the living room floor. There we sat, surrounded by a sea of socks; pairs of short, thin, patterned socks, thick cable-knit solid-color knee-highs, SmartWool-knockoff hiking crews, and holiday, dog-and-cat-themed novelty socks. Occasionally, a pair of underwear or tights showed up and was immediately cast aside.

Sock parties were as entertaining as playing ‘Go Fish,’ but not as brutal as our games of ‘Old Maid.’ Jessica would start by picking out a sock and holding it as high as her young arm could reach. Both of us would scramble to be the first to find its mate. If we did, we’d lay one sock down, cover it with the matching one, and roll them both up in a tight cocoon with a feeling of satisfaction. If there wasn’t a match, the poor thing was tossed into the singles pile. Then, it would be my turn to pick a sock and hold it up.

We’d squeal with delight when we were running out of socks and found a match, not in the sock pile but in that pile of singles. “Yay!” we’d rejoice, thinking now that sock would never be lonely again. 

Somehow, every few weeks another sock, or two, or three, lost its mate. One of us would again declare a sock party, and we’d start all over again.

We discussed the question of how we managed to lose socks, but had no answer. After all, we weren’t taking off our socks at a friend’s home, in the car, on a walk, or while shopping for groceries. Ninety-nine percent of the time, our socks were taken off either before a shower or before bedtime. Nancy Drew wannabe that I was, I detected that the missing socks had to be inside the house. ‘Where?’became the question.

We’d search under our beds, couch and dressers. We didn’t have a washer or dryer, so all our clothes traveled via car to the laundromat. But we were careful to always double-check the machines before heading for home with baskets of freshly washed clothes, possibly already minus a few socks.

Then one frigid Friday night in December, I couldn’t find one of my favorite earrings. They were my dress-up earrings that I only wore for special occasions. I turned the house upside down. It wasn’t the first earring to go MIA, but I was hopeful it was only AWOL. It may have been Jessica, too young for pierced ears at the time, who suggested the earring might be with one of my wandering socks. Aha!

Sorting through my earring box, I discovered I was missing more than the one special earring I desperately wanted to wear to the holiday party. Jessica helped me pair up the matches, a real-life puzzle. I was shocked at the resulting pile of singles. Were they hanging out with the single socks? Is there a place in heaven for single earrings and socks? How could I lose so many earrings? And where the heck wereall those socks?

Practical person that I am, I decided, on the next nice day, to walk with Jessica to the dime store and buy tons of tiny clear plastic earring backs. But I had no clue how to prevent socks from going missing.

The earring backs also ended up disappearing at an alarming rate. Now, years later, I have a drawer full of single earrings. I’ve considered getting more holes in my ears to accommodate them all, but looking like a Christmas tree is not the best look for me. 

Just this week, I came home from a meeting to discover that one of my favorite silver hoop earrings with turquoise beads was no longer in my ear. I immediately started a thorough search, but came up empty-handed. Gone!

That night as I settled down, I expected to dream of single sock and earring parties, but before I could drift off to sleep, my neighbor called, asking, “Did you lose a silver hoop earring with turquoise beads? We found one in our driveway today.” Case closed! Now about those socks...