When Dad died I very deliberately saved a few of his things: a big, fleecy green shirt that I have been known to wear as a jacket in the fall; a red wool Pendleton shirt with camel-colored suede patches on the elbows that he would wear in the winter. And these socks - navy blue, periwinkle and maroon argyles, a little worn in the heels but still serviceable. I really couldn't tell you why I saved the socks. I don't have any great memories about them, and it's not like my dad was much of an "argyle man." But there they were, in a drawer full of brown and blue and black work socks and so I took them. And now they sit in my drawer full of brown and black and grey work socks, rarely worn but always still there.
There are a lot of great things I could say about my dad, and sometimes, on lucky days, I still get to hear other people tell me about what they thought was great, too. But Dad was human and not everything was always so great. He was flawed like the rest of us. There were times when those flaws made life hard for him and for me and for a lot of people, and sometimes, when things were at their worst, it was all I could see of him.
But all of those flaws evaporated the moment he died, almost as if they were carried away with his last breath - a gift of sorts, I think. And what I'm left with now are good memories, a green fleecy jacket, a red wool Pendleton shirt, and a pair of argyle socks.