Saturday, November 1, 2008

The One About Dad and the Socks

My dad, Parley Hamblin, passed away October 2nd. At his funeral, a bishop who served while my dad was stake president told this story. I had forgotten it. About 15 years ago, my dad was running errands and ran out of gas on a country road. He had to hike about three miles to a gas station and then back again with a gas can. It was wet, rainy, and a little snowy that day, so when he got back with the gas can he took off his wet socks in the car to let them dry.

That evening he had to drive to Medford with my mom. Because he had run out of gas, they were running late, and they climbed into Dad's pickup for the hour-long drive. As they neared the top of Siskiyou Summit, it was raining and snowing. The pickup coughed a little, running low on gas, and so my dad hit the switch to use the secondary tank of gas, which he always kept full, wasn't! My dad hadn't run out of gas in years, and now he had done it twice in one day.

It was about 35 degrees, they were five miles from the nearest exit, and my dad wasn't wearing any socks. There is not much traffic on I-5 that for north, and especially not in inclement weather. He trudged along, realizing he was going to be late for his stake meeting. Blisters were forming on his feet, and he was very cold and wet. He began to pray that he would be able to accomplish the task at hand as quickly as possible. He said that he thought that it would sure be great if he had some dry socks. He bitterly regretted taking his off earlier in the day.

Suddenly, in the middle of the freeway shoulder, he saw something and stopped to pick it up. It was a sock! Despite the fact that everything around him for miles was wet and snowy, the sock was completely dry. He stopped, took off a shoe, put on the sock, and then replaced his shoe. He walked for several more minutes, pondering the miracle of that solitary sock, when suddenly, there in the middle of the shoulder, was another sock! Again, perfectly dry. He stopped and put that sock on the other foot. He wore the socks to his meeting that night, and when he got home he washed them, and he kept them in a plastic bag in his sock drawer as a reminder that prayers are answered.

It always seemed to me that it would have been more convenient if Heavenly Father had left a full gas can sitting there in the road. Or he could have sent a Good Samaritan to give him a ride. Or maybe given the pickup a boost of power to get to the top of the mountain, so that they could coast down to the gas station. But instead, he sent socks. Socks! The socks didn't take away the trial he was going through. They just provided a little comfort to get him through what he had to accomplish. Physical comfort, but also spiritual comfort, because they were proof that the Lord loved him and was watching out for him in a very individual way.

I think sometimes that our job in life is to be the socks. There have been many times when I have been the recipient of socks. But all in all, I would rather be the socks for someone else as they are hiking along on their way to the gas station.


~ Jamie ~ said...

I'm so glad you wrote this here. I loved it when Lisa told it in her lesson & was going to ask you for a copy of the story. It is so inspiring. It sounds like you have one amazing dad!

Erika said...

That is a great story! I like coming to your blog!