Birthday Socks


I love it when my separate and varied worlds converge! One of my favorite authors appreciates knitting! Well of course he would. That's just the sort of person he is.

I awakened this morning to find a beautiful Facebook post from Alexander McCall Smith, reflecting on his birthday yesterday and on the receipt of a gift of hand knitted socks. I have loved his stories for many years, since I first shared The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency with my daughter-in-law who was at that time still learning English. That first book of the series was the first book she read entirely in English. She became completely fluent with remarkable speed, and we have since devoured each of the subsequent stories in this series as it appears; Mma Ramotswe and her friends becoming our fast friends as well, to say nothing of young Bertie in the 44 Scotland Street series.

In yet another convergence of worlds, Mr. McCall Smith also shares a birthday with my mother who reached the grand age of 98 yesterday. Many happy birthday wishes to both of you!

Alexander McCall Smith has countless fans the world over, and there are already, not surprisingly, 575 replies to his birthday post. What warms my heart in particular is the number of fans who responded with knitting anecdotes. Clearly, many of his readers also understand the love and care that went into the creation of those birthday socks. Knitting, for so many of us, helps us to celebrate life's joys, and sees us through life's crises as well. We knit to welcome new babies; we knit to keep our loved ones warm (though as my now adult son reminded me when he was about 7 or 8, "A sweater is what you put on when your mother is cold."), and sometimes we just knit furiously through those times when all we can do is wait. We knit to remind ourselves that "all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well".

There is more to those socks than meets the eye! If ever our poor old world was in need of a healing touch, it is now. So whether we paint pictures, knit socks, sing songs, write stories, or simply cook tonight's supper, may we leave behind an extra measure of gentleness and kindness to sooth the soul of this weary world. That is what Alexander McCall Smith does so very well.

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