I am superstitious. I can’t help it. I don’t know where it comes from. I don’t sit on a bed after it is made to perfection and I have heart failure if any visitor to my home does. Pull the covers down first if you need to nap. That’s fine. Okay. So now I’m a writer. I need good luck along with craft and a few good author pals. I have a keeper who likes to nap. And I have cats for the first time in my life. Cats are no respecters of superstition. I don’t make the bed up any more. There is good luck, bad luck and no luck. Not making up my bed guarantees NO LUCK. I’m good with it. The cats are good with it and my keeper is good with it–or maybe not, but I didn’t ask his opinion.
I don’t walk under ladders.
I NEVER pass up a penny on the ground. No, I don’t. Here’s why: There is an old Southern adage if you save all of your pennies in your kitchen from one Leap Year to the next, you will have great good fortune. No fail! Leap Year is the year in which a woman can ask a man to marry her. Your good fortune will include some other woman snagging the fool you were gonna pop the question to because you were enamored of a certain muscle, but by the time Leap Year rolls around again–there he is with his pickup on blocks and not a single useful muscle between his ears (or anywhere else) and a bad back. Plus, you are bound to have at least a hundred $$$ in change. Nice Valentine’s gift to yourself. My first year in Houston, I found seventy-three dollars in change on the ground. In the scheme of things that doesn’t sound like much, but when I lived on off-islands and tiny jungle villages seventy-three dollars was enough to feed a family six for three months. I hoard my luck like Bookbub subscribers hoard books. I was in Panama City, Florida, not long ago and went to Walmart… Of course I walk with my eyes on the ground (don’t come at me with traveling body parts–you know what I mean). There was a hundred dollar bill floating across the macadam. Honey I stomped it. Next, I saw a twenty-dollar bill. Snagged ’em both.
Here is a way to have bad luck follow you for the rest of your natural life: Toss out old blouses and shirts without first cutting off the buttons. I have a button jar. Back in
the day we used to make all of our own clothes. We needed those buttons. Buttons are lucky, even if they are just sitting in a button jar. My best friends from up North looked at me like I was crazy when I tried to stop them from tossing old clothes with buttons. All are D-E-A-D now. Every single one. If that ain’t bad luck or no luck, I don’t know what you’d call it.
The Chinese have Kitchen gods. I have a Kitchen witch. She’s a cute little thing on a tiny broom, with a pink felt skirt. I bought her from an old woman at a Fiddle Festival in the hills of West Virginia, Appalachia. I haven’t burned a pot of beans since she came to live with me twenty-five or so years ago. No Lie. I used to have to keep a gallon of vinegar on hand for burned pots. In case you don’t know, here’s what you do: Pour a cup or two of vinegar in the pot and bring it to a boil. Keep that full boil going until that black crud just works loose and the pan comes out shiny as new.
I feel like I’m on a lucky streak right now–in my resurrected writing career and life in general–and Bingo. I won three $500 jackpots this month. Two back-to back on the same night! Did I stand up and dance a jig and make a fool of myself? Dang right. In reality, including superstitions, we make our own luck–good, bad or indifferent. But the kindness of strangers helps that lucky feeling, too. A reader named Jeanette from Indiana wrote this about The House on Persimmon Road on Amazon yesterday: “Wonderfully different story line. I especially like the story within a story. As much as I loved this book my favorite part was the author’s bio. What an extremely interesting and full life thus far. I couldn’t help but see certain similarities between her and Lottie!”