"Sock It To Me"

The other day I was summoned to the bedroom by my dearly beloved. He was standing between the dresser and the bed, whereon lay a stack of his freshly laundered black socks. I had abandoned them there because his sock drawer, where space is shared with his other unmentionables, was already stuffed to maximum-plus capacity.

He has a large dresser with deep drawers that would, under normal circumstances, accommodate a sufficient, possibly even abundant supply of sock, T-shirts and tighty-whiteys. Right now it exceeded the abundant stage, having reached overload status because of someone's recent shopping spree in Meijer's Men's Department, where this past Monday they offered senior citizens 15% off all general merchandise.

The someone on this recent shopping spree was not I. Nor was it Tasha, who in dog years is a ripe old 112. That leaves you-know-who as the only other senior citizen in this household to qualify for the discount.

Among the many bargains at Meijer's that day was a pack of 12 white crew socks for $10.00 - "Buy one, get one free." Factor in the 15% discount and who in their right mind could turn it down? Never mind that he now owns over three dozen pair of white crew socks in various lengths and styles, or that the purpose of the shopping trip was to buy a couple pair of black socks, since that six or so pair he already has aren't the right length or material to go with his new black athletic shoes. So it goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway), that the last thing he needed was another pair - excuse me, another two dozen pair - of white crew socks.

When he came home with all those socks, I immediately set aside one of the BOGO packs of whites to be distributed to kids and grandkids, squeezed the other 12 pair into his underwear drawer, and crammed a dozen pair of new black socks into a bottom drawer where too many bicycle shorts for one person were already squeezed in like sardines.

But getting back to the summons, its purpose was to impart to me specific instructions as to the proper placement of the black socks. See, I didn't know - or care - when I stuffed them all in with his bicycle shorts that there were two different styles of socks. They all looked the same to me and frankly, I was relieved just to be able to squash them in there and still get the drawer shut. This time I didn't have the patience for all that pushing and shoving, so I just laid them on the bed, assuming he would take the hint and take care of them.

I was wrong. Apparently, he wasn't about to start putting away his own socks every wash day, so he felt it was worth a few moments of his time to let me know where to put them - and why. "You see these?" he says, aiming a handful of new blacks in my direction, "They are low cut and have this little insignia on them. They go here." And he opens a drawer, showing me where he has prepared a spot for them. "These," he explained, referring to the others, "have higher tops and a different insignia," and pointing out another carefully carved out groove of empty space in another drawer, continued, "They go here."

Duly informed, I returned to the kitchen where I was in the process of cooking some Polish Sausage for dinner. (Recipe follows.)

When dinner was over and he was comfortably settled in his Barca Lounger engrossed in the six o'clock news, I summoned him to the kitchen. I pointed to the sink full of dirty dishes and said, "You see these? They are dishes and after you've washed and dried them, they go here," and I opened the cabinet where the dishes have resided for ten years - without his knowledge, I suspect. "And these," I explained, showing him the silverware and opening the cutlery drawer, "Are forks and knives and spoons and they go in this tray."

I then retired to the Barca Lounger, leaving him with these words of encouragement: "Tomorrow I'll show you how to run the dishwasher."

SWEET KIELBASA

1 lb. Kielbasa (Polish Sausage) cut into about 1" pieces

1/2 to 1 can of Coca Cola

1/3 to 1/2 cup brown sugar

Place brown sugar and cola in saucepan, starting with the lesser amounts. Heat to combine. Add kielbasa and bring to a boil. Turn down heat. Cover and simmer until syrup forms and kielbasa has a dark coating, about 45 minutes to an hour. Turn kielbasa a few times to coat. Check periodically to see if more coke or sugar is needed for a syrupy consistency. (This is really good!)