A few nights ago we thought of re-visiting our socks, taking stock of an important item of apparel. Most us go through life not paying too much attention to socks but with retirement comes the time and opportunity to take a closer look. It was a rather cold week-end evening, a bit boring on TV and we were not in the mood for yet another comedy show on TV. How much jolliness can the system stand?
As we were gathering socks Helvi asked me if I still remembered buying a pair of thick woolen Norwegian socks. I did remember; it was in 1993 during a stay in Holland. We had both gone to the Saturday market at a small place in Holland named Nijverdal. It was a bitterly cold day and as we sauntered through all the different stalls I stopped at a hot fish and chips stall and ordered deep fried freshly crumbed sole for both of us with Patat frites. (French fries) Of course, the left eyed Dover Sole is a delicacy that is now rare.
They, like so many other fish species have been over fished but back in 1993 they were freely available. Indeed, since that day I haven’t eaten a single sole. Of course in the southern hemisphere a true sole is not there and we compromise and make do with flounder instead…and the chips are not the same either but that’s life. After arrival in Australia we discovered people would put vinegar on chips. It was a bad omen. However, the nail in the coffin was tinned spaghetti on toast. Can you believe it? Yes, I can. Everything you can imagine is possible in Australia, even the things you can’t imagine.
What is the same though are those before mentioned Norwegian woolen socks. I asked Helvi to chuck the socks to me for closer inspection. Only a true lover of woolen socks knows what it is to put a hand inside the confines of the heel and swivel the socks around the hand seeking for possible wear and tear. I held them up to light, still perfect. Not even a single ray of light penetrating the sock. That’s Norwegian socks for you. They were expensive but what joy to wear and over so many years.
My first memories are about socks. During the war years of 1940-45 and at St Nicholas on the 5th of December, when the Dutch give their kids presents, the same here at Christmas time, we used to get a single sock hanging from the fire-place as a present. It was some years after when there was more money about that the sock would hold actual presents. Those first toddler memories are still telling me today that the single sock was the total present.
My mum told me she knitted them from wool unraveled from an old jumper or perhaps even old under-pants. I must have worn this single sock on alternative feet to get the warmth divided equally. Ever since those single sock years I hold socks with a deep and heartfelt reverence. I just don’t understand the mentality of people throwing socks out just because there is a hole in the heel. All you have to do is turn the socks around with the hole on top of the foot and presto, the hole doesn’t show.
The other alternative is to buy Norwegian socks.
Tags: Australia, Christmas, Holland, Norwegian Socks, St Nicholas
Posted in Gerard Oosterman |