Gayle Crowder, guest writer

Gayle Crowder, guest writer

Prepare to be inspired. Our own lady taildragger pilot, Gayle Crowder, LOVER of all things TW, writes from the heart. Gayle recently accepted a position with Oregon Aero, a major life change, and tells us just how she did it.


Socks. These things you put on your feet every day. Plain old socks. the things that keep your feet from smelling up your shoes. Socks are a thing most people don’t think about. We get up in the morning, take our showers, get dressed, and socks are the last thing we put on before we slide our feet into our shoes and leave for the day.

You’d never guess it, but socks can change your life. Had someone told me this four months ago, I’d have laughed and dismissed the theory. Now I have proof.

Socks. For my entire life, I have worn them. I’m a tennis-shoe, athletic-shoe, or whatever you want to call them sort of person. I’ve spent most of my life at my job on my feet, walking, walking. One desires comfort when walking…athletic shoes are comfortable. Only problem is, you need socks. They keep blisters from forming. They control foot odor. They’re very boring. Pink socks

Here’s what I learned early on: In the summer, you wear white shoes and white socks with shorts. In winter, you wear black shoes and black socks with dark pants. No other pairing is fashionably acceptable. What do I know about fashion? Absolutely nothing. These “rules” were made up somewhere along the way. They’re what I’ve adhered to for the most part of thirty years, from the time I was old enough to decide what I wanted to wear without input from my mom.

I’ve always had a fear of fashion. I have zero fashion sense. When my friend Lori told me that a red shirt and pink shorts “clashed” in the fifth grade, I was forever terrified of “clashing.” Whatever that was. That’s when I decided you can’t possibly go wrong with black and white. They “go” with everything. I chose that mantra and stuck with it, throughout my teenage years and well into adulthood.

If you wear all black. there’s nothing to think about. It all matches. It relieves the worry about “fashion sense.” Once upon a time I read women’s magazines which touted black and white as the answers to every fashion faux pas. I read this, committed it to memory, and never thought about it again. White, black. No problem.

Then 2014 came along. Exciting things began to happen. I met a dynamic individual who agreed to let me edit his autobiography. Somewhere in the editing process, we came to know each other pretty well and we began to talk about things which had nothing to do with the book. We got to know each other. Two strangers, getting to know each other through email, tend to share a lot more than people who meet in person. I’m better at writing things than I am at talking things out. I began to share the circumstances under which I’ve always lived.

There was no mention of socks. Who’d think to speak to anyone about such things?

This man of wisdom and great insight offered a suggestion. If you want to change your life, start with something small. Make one change every day to get you to where you want to be.

I couldn’t imagine changing anything. I had to go to work every day. Every month, I had to pay the same bills. Nothing ever changed. No way out, swimming upriver for the past twenty years. Yes, change would be nice. But there was nothing I could do to get out. No remedy. What a nice thought, make one change. What could I do?

I finally found the answer. An insignificant change, one that would matter to no one; least of all, me. Who would even notice? Costs less than six bucks, even I can afford that. I went shopping. For socks!

The world has changed. There are still black socks and white socks for sale. I skipped over those. They are what I’ve always worn. I was looking for change. My new friend’s story about his friend Eric wearing neon socks in the 1960’s inspired me. Look for neon colors! Something I’d never be caught dead in. I hate pink. I hate to stand out. I don’t want any attention paid to me; I’m a wallflower.

I found a single pair of pink socks. Hate pink! I knew I’d never wear them, but I put them into my shopping cart. Just in case I changed my mind. I went to the shoe department next. If I am going to wear pink socks, I need some sort of black shoes to go with them. I found a pair of black shoes with pink stripes. Pink! Sheesh. I hate pink. I put them in the cart and paid for both items. This was on a Friday. Monday morning, when I got ready for work, I stuck the black and pink shoes, and pink socks, on my feet. Off I went.

I felt conspicuous all day. Boy, did I stand out! I’d like to say someone noticed. Maybe someone did, but they never mentioned it. By the end of the day, I was able to look at my feet and think about why I’d bought such brightly colored things and worn them to work. Of all places! No one mentioned they ever noticed, but it sure did make a difference to me.

I noticed so much, those bright colors, every time I looked down, such an indication of my willingness to change, despite the thirty years of sameness. It was a turning point for me. Those pink socks provided the realization that I really CAN change. Oh, my. Who would have ever thought it possible? Pink socks!

I went a little crazy. Monday I had pink socks. I had only the one pair. I wanted to try other colors. Would they work, too? I visited the store again and bought a package with seven pairs, all colors. All neon. Yikes. Me? Neon socks?

Yep. One small change. That’s all it took. Those pink socks made me believe I could make other, bigger changes. I had no idea the adventure awaiting me. One pair of pink socks.

Now I’m moving from the East side of the country, to about as far West as you can go without dumping yourself into the Pacific Ocean. All it takes is a little change.

Those pink socks have faded. I’ve worn them all summer as a reminder of the things to come. I bought a new pair of pink socks to replace them.

That first pair is going into my scrapbook. They’ll always be there to remind me….one little change, no matter how small it may be, is all it takes. Pink socks. I’d never have imagined such possibilites existed.

Never take your socks for granted…sometimes, your socks are the best thing that ever happened to you. New beginnings start with the smallest seeds, and never before has a pair of socks gotten full credit.

I love my pink socks.

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