I just texted my daughter: Give me a topic for a blog post — any topic. Sock Monkeys I have known? My favorite neighbor? Vegetables?
The truth is I couldn’t think of anything to write about because I am that worn out. I look normal, but then there is a reason Chronic Fatigue is one of the “invisible illnesses.” And if you ask me what I’ve done today I might remember washing a couple of windows, practicing piano, doing some laundry.I can remember that Emily Kimball, the Aging Adventurer, came by to have me trim her hair.
But I feel like I haven’t done anything for days. In spite of the perfectly gorgeous fall weather –red maple leaves against a cloudless blue sky, warm sunshine, butterflies on the just-about-done-for mums — I’m not quite connected to the world.
Let’s blame it on the election.
For example, after Emily arrived with a gift of unidentified leafy greens (not arugula, not watercress, etc.) and I was setting out the scissors and the clippers, she asked me how I was. I told her I was tired from getting swept up in the giant wave of emotional reaction following the presidential election. Swept up, dragged across the sand, and spit out limp on the shore! I was tired and there just couldn’t be anything left to say about any of it.
Then we BOTH proceeded to talk about the election for the next twenty minutes.
It’s no wonder I’m tired to the bone.
I’m not as bad as I could be. For example, I can make a decision about what clothes to wear and then put them on. I am keeping up with my morning exercises of making the bed and fetching the newspaper from wherever it has landed in the front yard. Then, usually, I practice piano. But the rest of my day seems to drift by, untouched by human hands, wasted. Rationally I know that I may have talked to someone or gone somewhere or done something, but it feels like I’ve spent the day doing nothing except reading novels. (I’ve read three or four or more in the last week.)
So I don’t have much to write about because I’m floating somewhere outside my own life.
So — what about those sock monkeys?
The first sock monkey I ever met was made by my friend Charlotte Henson. She brought him to the hospital for my new baby boy. Except, my baby was a girl, not a boy, but Charlotte had to rely on word of mouth for the birth announcement because the Shelby Daily Globe would not print the usual birth announcement for an unmarried woman. We removed the felt vest and little bowtie on that monkey and I made her a dress. A gender specific sock monkey seemed important at the time. She was Henson Monkey, named after her maker.
Henson became Anna-baby’s fast friend. When I went back to college, Anna brought Henson along with us. And there Anna and Henson played with blond, curly-haired Brian and his sock monkey who lived across the courtyard of married students’ housing on Mill Street. (I was the only not-married person to live in the complex.) Those sock monkeys got quite the workout on the exterior stairs and balconies of the apartments.
It was there on campus that I met the man who eventually made an honest woman out of me (as they used to say, and without irony). I stitched up sock monkeys for the first two of our boys but by the time my little girl’s third brother was born, she made the sock monkey for him. (We thought he was going to be a she, so Leslie Monkey wore a dress. She kept the name and the dress.)
Leslie Monkey and her fellows led interesting lives. Our middle son had the stuffed animals perform in a rock band. His sock monkey, Fred, was the lead singer. When the stuffed animals played baseball, Fred was the pitcher.
Over the years, with the help of my son-in-law’s keen insight, we’ve come to understand sock monkeys in general as sneaky tricksters. (Leslie Monkey is the exception.) Never buy insurance from a Sock Monkey!
These days my daughter makes sock monkeys for the grandchildren. I make the baby quilts. But I always have sock monkey materials on hand and there’s no telling how many I’ve stuffed for other babies. Once I even made miniature sock monkey portraits for myself and my mother and a few friends. And I needlepointed a piano bench cushion with sock monkeys for my daughter and her husband. I’ve sent out sock monkey Christmas cards. I printed kitchen curtains with sock monkey linoleum blocks. The same design worked on onesies.
In 1999, I etched sock monkeys onto glass coffee mugs for my daughter’s Christmas present and she made me a millennium monkey commemorative plate. Once, Charlotte made a miniature flying sock monkey for me. Another friend gave me a sock monkey mug. A quilting friend gave me sock monkey fabric. And our favorite Christmas decoration is the sock monkey Santa snow globe my daughter made. Our son-in-law even wrote a sock monkey Christmas carol!
I am not a collector and I don’t collect sock monkeys. You wouldn’t come into my house and say, “Oh! This woman has a thing about sock monkeys.” You wouldn’t even notice at all.
And I can prove that sock monkeys are sneaky.
They’ve snuck right into this blog!