2008.10.29 Color commentary is getting sharper

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

The older I get, the more I enjoy color. That observation probably explains why I as so attracted to things like 24-pack Sharpie markers, Sol Mate socks and the wild woman doll mentioned in a previous column.

Sol Mate socks are a crazy cacophony of color and pattern and come in names like Crocus, Stormy and Sunset. I bought mine from the absolutely wonderful Chinaberry catalog which used to offer just books, but now has a selection of games, gifts, toys and other products you didn’t know you couldn’t live without like Click, the little gizmo that takes away the itch of mosquito bites.

The Click, in mosquito season, is priceless. Five little zaps to a recent bite and gone is the itch. But Sol Mate socks (“cheery, rambunctiously distinctive, and cozy”) are pure entertainment every time you put them on.

The two socks don’t match, but their colors complement each other. I smile every time I wear them. They’re way ridiculously expensive compared to the average price of socks, but can you put a price on happiness?

I bought a pair for each of my daughters a couple years ago, but I wasn’t sure if I should splurge on new pairs for them.

“I like them, but I don’t really look at them,” said Rozee when I asked if she enjoyed their colors.

She seems to wear them for specific reasons—playing in the snow in Berea, keeping warm at a Packers game in Wisconsin—not on a daily basis like I do.

She hasn’t had as much call for them in New Orleans, but she has them with her; they didn’t get left behind like Maddie’s.

I told her they were on sale on the Chinaberry website and asked if she liked them well enough that I should buy her a pair.

“I don’t think I need a lot of pairs here,” she said.

My children are so diplomatic. So. No new socks for her in beautiful rich blues and purples with a touch of fuschia and black. I’ll save my money and send her multi-colored maple leaves instead.

I was feeling sad for Ben in Miami and Rozee in New Orleans last week when I was driving up 127 to Lansing for a meeting and then across Grand River to 23 and Ann Arbor to visit Maddie. I was so sorry Ben and Rozee were living in southern climates, not seeing the wonderful display of color.

This seems to be a great year for fall color. I don't even want to rake, I told them in an email, because the yellows and orange of the big maple tree out in front of our house look so nice on the ground.

Of course, there is a fair share of drabby greens and browns, but the sudden spurts of ROY (red/orange/yellow) are pretty spectacular.

Rozee wrote back in response:

“The leaves are the thing I miss the most about not really having fall. I definitely don't mind the weather not being fall-like —it's been about 76-80 every day with no humidity and lots of sun. Sort of like early September at home, I guess. But last week was Mountain Day and so I can imagine what Berea looks like and we don't have any yellow fall gingko leaves here. I think I love color now, but it's different here...instead of colored leaves it's colored houses and people and decorations...which is lots of fun.”

Ben’s wife Sarah misses fall, but Ben says he doesn’t really. Like Rozee, he enjoys the warm weather.

“It's ‘fall-like’ here now. It's in the upper 70s and low 80s for a change,” he wrote.

I thought for sure nature boy Ben would miss fall. It just goes to show I don’t know my kids so well. I thought Maddie liked those crazy socks because she was wearing them of her own volition one day.

“I was just cold,” she explained on the phone. “They were on the ottoman so I put them on.”

“You mean they were mine?”

“Yeah. I wouldn’t wear those in public.”

“I thought maybe you really liked them,” I said.

“I don’t,” she said, emphasizing the word “don’t.”

“You wear them in public with Birkenstocks,” she said with an edge of disbelief.

“Is that a problem?” I asked.

She snorted, a little derisively. “Yeah.”

It was on that East Lansing-Ann Arbor day when I was enjoying the fall colors that I wore them. Maddie and I attended author David Sedaris’ incredibly funny reading and book signing at Hill Auditorium.

“I did wear them.” It was coming back to me. “I wore them to David Sedaris.”

“I remember,” she said, with that sideways lilt in her voice that says, “I endure so much for you, I suffer through your crazy socks and Birkenstocks while walking among my peers.”

I guess maybe I should get my color fix from Sharpies.

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