My paternal grandfather died in April of 1992. They gave me his socks.
Wearing a dead man’s socks didn’t seem strange at the time. I was a pragmatic 14-year-old who needed socks, it didn’t matter to me that they had previously been worn by a man withering away in a nursing home. Later in life I would have a similar view toward used cars, furniture, dishes, and almost anything else. Anything doesn’t include underwear. Lines must be drawn on these things; my lines are apparently located below my waist.
In retrospect, I suppose it was strange that I accepted the socks with such glee. My reaction was similar to that of a tweenage girl getting to go on a date with Justin Beiber. Or how Dale Earnhardt, Jr. fans would react if his skills came close to matching his hype. Or how I would feel if goat poop tasted as much like Raisinets as they look. Unbridled exuberance, inexplicable joy.
My initial reaction about the socks was solidified into real appreciation later. It was because of his name.
Grandpa’s name was Gettys Oliver Cannon. Seriously. I’m not sure who named him or what they were thinking. Gettys might have been a popular name for baby boys in 1907. I doubt it, though. For a short time as a child, I often thought it would be cool to be named Gettys Oliver. Of course, I also spent time pretending that I was the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard and just the other day I spent time trying to remember if I ever knew anyone named Peggy who had a middle name other than Sue (the answer is no). My desire to named Gettys Oliver faded, but Grandpa having that name is what became an unusual blessing to me.
I suppose the folks at the nursing home wanted to make sure that no one socks got lost, or maybe there was a gang of sock thieves roaming the halls in lowered, pimped out wheel chairs. Whichever. Their way of dealing with this was to write the resident’s name on the toes of each of his socks. They did this by first initial, middle initial, and last name. So each of Granpa’s socks had “G.O. Cannon” written on them.
It took me a while to notice this; I guess I didn’t think about it until I started wearing them during while I played basketball. I remember putting them on before a game and looking at my feet. That’s when I saw a motivational message courtesy of my Grandpa’s socks.
I know that this is strange, but that is exactly the type of message I needed to hear. I still need to hear it. I still need to GO.
GO after my dreams.
GO after what God has called me to do.
GO when I am weary, distressed, discouraged.
GO when the road become treacherous and the darkness closes in.
GO and to never quit GOing.
GO until I reach the shore.
Inspiration often arrives in packages that are difficult to identify. It can be found in the innocent, small words of a child whose heart is filled with wonder. It can be heard through the words of a friend, an acquaintance, or even someone on Twitter. I’ve been touched by billboards and commercials, though not in the way that the marketers intended. And there are always words in the Bible that can stir the soul.
It doesn’t matter much where inspiration comes from, as long as it comes. Even if it comes courtesy of a dead man’s socks.
(Has anything strange ever motivated you? Tell us about it.)