Socks and Stockings

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I went out on an errand with my son this morning, and we came across an interesting sight. On the side of the road, there was a man walking his bicycle up the hill. That, in itself, is not an unusual thing to see. However, this man was pushing his bike up the hill in just his socks because he was carrying his shoes.

Observing this from the passenger seat, my son said, “Why is he walking his bike?” Because from his perspective, if you have a bike, you should ride it.

My mommy-brain kicked in. “I am more concerned about the fact that he is carrying his shoes and walking in stocking feet!” I exclaimed. Then something in my mommy-brain started to dial back what I had just said.

Stocking feet…

 When was the last time I heard that idiom? Had I ever used it with my son before? Did he even know what that meant? Does anyone know what that means anymore? And I started to think about the word “stockings” and the fact that we never refer to our socks as “stockings.”

Over the years, when my children run through the door and out onto the walkway without their shoes on, I will say to them, “What are you doing outside in just your socks?” I have threatened to make them buy their own socks when walking on the pavement creates holes in their soles. But I don’t remember saying anything to them about “stocking feet.”

This is a term from my childhood. I can still hear my own mother clearly telling us not to walk around in stocking feet, that we should wear shoes or slippers or something. I half expected to Google the term and see—before the definition—the notation “archaic.” I was relieved to see the notation wasn’t there, and the examples were fairly current.

Perhaps I have used that term more recently than I remember because my son didn’t question my words, and I didn’t say anything more about the man walking his bike and carrying his shoes. Even still, my mommy-brain is stuck on that sight.

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