How to Beat the Winter Blahs
by Len Anderson
You haven’t been on your boat (or on the links, or in the surf, etc.) since before Christmas. Tension is mounting, and you have little energy within you. You are eating more to relieve your stress. One effective way to lower these blahs, according to psychologists, is to relax. But the very best way to re-energize and increase your optimism is to burn your winter socks. How’s that?
Yes, you can both eat more and relax at the same time by burning your winter socks at the South Carolina Maritime Museum’s first annual “Burning of the Socks” celebration on Sunday, March 18, from 4 to 7 pm, on the waterfront at 729 Front Street in Georgetown. The event is a “fun”draiser for the museum, and you will be treated to roasted oysters, chili, corn muffins, libations, music, and door prizes. The cost is only $30 each for members, $35 for non- (but soon to be) members, and $40 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at the Museum, at the River Room, and at Harbor Specialties in Pawleys Island. For any questions, call 843-520-0111. But what’s the burning of the socks all about?
It’s become a coastal tradition, dating back to the mid-1980’s, starting in Annapolis. There, Bob Turner, who managed a boatyard, got tired of the winter blahs. While working on boats all winter, his socks collected sawdust, bottom paint, caulk, fiberglas resins, and other boat yard leavings. In other words, his socks would stand up when he took them off at night. One year, on the first day of Spring, he took off his socks, put them in a paint tray, sprinkled on some lighter fluid, lit them, and then had a beer to celebrate. The tradition began.
There are now sock burnings in other boating towns across the country. This will be the first annual in Georgetown.
To commemorate the tradition, “Ode to the Sock Burners” was composed by Jefferson Holland of Annapolis in 1995. The ode is read every year when the socks are lit at coastal parties. Here it is:
Them Eastport boys got an odd tradition
When the sun sinks to its Equinox position.
They build a little fire down along the docks,
They doff their shoes, and they burn their winter socks.
Yes, they burn their socks at the Equinox.
You might think that’s peculiar, but I think it’s not.
See, they’re the same socks they put on last fall,
And never took ‘em off to wash ‘em, not at all…
So, they burn their socks at the Equinox
In a little ol’ fire burning nice and hot.
Some think incineration is the only solution,
‘Cause washin’ ‘em contributes to Chesapeake pollution.
Through the spring and the summer and into the fall,
They go around not wearin’ any socks at all,
Just stinky bare feet stuck in old deck shoes,
Whether out on the water or sippin’ a brew.
So if you sail into the Harbor on the 20th of March,
And you smell Limburger sautéed with laundry starch,
You’ll know you’re downwind of the Eastport docks,
Where they’re burning their socks for the Equinox.
So gather up your crusty ‘ol winter socks, come to the South Carolina Maritime Museum on March 18, and beat the blahs at the Equinox.