When the three little kittens lost their mittens, not only did they start to cry, but their mother was irritated at them and told them “you shall have no pie.” Clearly the cat couldn’t just run down to the store and buy an inexpensive pair of replacement mittens. Losing their mittens had in fact been a serious mistake. The same held true when I was a child, and the solution was to have a braided cord that joined the two mittens and ran across one’s shoulders under a coat. Most mittens in my group of friends were hand knit and worth holding onto. When we hung our wet wool on those radiators it was clear which mothers didn’t trust their kids to keep their mittens. Those tell-tale cords told us all.
Yesterday as I parked my car at the grocery store I saw one bedraggled glove, propped up on the curb, missing its mate. Perhaps most people in my neighborhood still can hear their mothers yelling “where did you lose your glove?” (As if we knew!) All over I see lone mittens and gloves propped on signs, sticking off fire hydrants, wedged onto parking meters. People have spotted lone gloves or mittens in the snow and, not wanting them to be covered by the next snow, have placed them up off the ground. I think it is an optimistic gesture, and maybe sometimes it helps the panicked glove loser.
I think that mittens and socks should all be sold in threes. They are interchangeable after all. At least that way when one disappears–as it inevitably will–a matching replacement will be at hand.