Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday the Thirteenth

JAN: We don't like to think of ourselves as superstitious. But we all are. A little bit. I, for one, am totally convinced that all the Red Sox's problems this season are Joe Girardi's fault (NY Yankees manager) because he jinxed the team by saying we were the #1 team this year, the frontrunners, the team to beat. (And yes, he was trying to make us believe the Yankees were the underdogs.) I also am semi-convinced the rally caps my son and I wore during the 2004 playoffs are at least partly responsible for the Red Sox winning the series division.

Okay, that's how ridiculous I am. So on this Friday the thirteenth, what's your silly superstition?

ROBERTA: I love black cats, but not running across my path. And I won't walk under a ladder. And like you Jan, I hate to say things are going really well, for example: geez there was less traffic than we expected. That's asking for trouble and we all have to knock wood...

RHYS: I believe Hank asked me during an interview whether I was at all superstitious and I denied it. But I have noticed--if I'm up for an award and my hair looks good when I'm getting ready I don't win. If I can't do a thing with my hair and it looks awful--I win. But I can't make myself deliberately make my hair look terrible! My mother's family (Welsh influence) were horribly superstitious and had all these little mantras (drop a spoon, get a letter, drop a fork,visit from a lady, drop a knife, visit from a gentleman). I find myself muttering those things on occasion!

HANK: Rhys, you are too funny. Listen to this. On the night I was nominated for the best-first Agatha, I found a shiny shiny penny on the floor by my banquet seat. I snapped it up..and it was from 2005--the year I first started writing. I was SO HAPPY. And I won! So, of course it was the penny.
This year, nominated for Best Novel,I also found a coin! I was SO happy. I picked it up--and it was a Canadian coin. Sigh. And Louise Penny won. (Pretty funny on several levels...)

Am I superstitious? YES. I will not put a hat on a bed or shoes on a table.

DEB: I didn't grow up in a superstitious family. The only thing I can remember really worrying about as a child was "Don't step on a crack or you'll break your mother's back." Since my mother is ninety this year and her back is still okay, I must have avoided a lot of cracks! I've had several black cats, and only worry about walking under ladders if I think a can of paint might fall on my head.

I do worry about the reverse jinx, though. If I think, or say I think, I'm going to win an award, or that someting particularly good is going to happen, etc., I'm afraid I'll jinx it.

And I collect little tokens; a cardinal feather, a shell from the beach in Florida, a pretty little fragment of aqua tile I found on a morning walk. There's no real significance to these things, except as ties to moments that made me feel happy.

Love your penny story, Hank!

JAN: I never even heard of the not putting a hat on the bed. And I only don't put shoes on a table for hygienic reasons -- which just goes to show -- how many superstitions there really are - I can't keep track of them all.

So what weird superstitions are you in denial about? Come on fess up!


  1. My golf superstition involves setting the ball on the tee with the little arrow pointing exactly in the direction I want it to go.

    Works about half the time.

    I think of my Red Six superstition more as karma. If I send good energy to Big Papi when he's up and we need a big hit, he gets a big hit.


    Now my secret's out. It's my karma behind all those wall balls and walk offs. Jan, your rally caps helped, too.

    Brenda Buchanan

  2. Love these stories.

    My grandmas on both sides of my family, being Cajun and Sicilian ladies, with an Irish great-grandmother thrown in for good measure,--well you can just imagine the crazy superstitions I grew up with! I tried to rise above most of the scary or downright silly ones, but I still get twitchy about opening an umbrella in the house, putting a hat on the bed, etc.

    I do however still like the upbeat ideas, like seeing a bluebird brings good luck,same goes for putting/receiving a coin in a purse or wallet as a gift.

    Oh, once we were scheduled to fly back from a trip to Vegas on a Friday the 13th, but I reasoned that the flight left at 10pm Pacific time but it would be midnight Central time, therefore another day, so we would be safe flying home, and sure enough the flight was smooth and actually enjoyable!

  3. Brenda --

    SO I HAVE YOU TO THANK for the 2004 championship. Many thanks. Now.....make sure to send extra karma to Papi this year because the team really needs it.

    I like your idea of only using the positive superstitions.
    But would LOVE to know the full range of superstitions you heard growing up with that varied ethnic background.

  4. My superstition: That Blogger will go out for nearly the whole day...

    And Lynn, I'm with you - same superstitions were in my childhood. Also that you had to throw spilled salt over your (right?) shoulder. Dropping a fork meant one thing; a knife meant another... I forget what. And if anyone complimented the baby you had to spit to distract the evil eye.

  5. Okay, nobody has explained to me what happens if you leave a hat on the bed???

  6. Everything bad that happens to the Red Sox is the fault of those damn Yankees. Everyone knows that.

    And the rally caps were most certainly part of the 2004 victory.

    So where's your silly superstition.

  7. Exactly, Linda. I can see that you and I should go to a game together some time.

    AND DEB, I've been wondering the same thing about the hat and the bed.


  8. Deb,
    Read John O'Hara's "The Hat on the Bed." ;0)
    I still throw the salt over my left shoulder when I've poured too much into my hand. Loved Hanks coin story, too.

  9. Oh, the hat thing...well, clearly SOMETHING TERRIBLE will happen. I'm not gonna be the one who finds out what it is.

    I have no idea where it came from , it just IS.(does anyone know.)

  10. Salt over the shoulder, definitely yes.

    Brenda, Jungle red golf outing!!

    Recently, my hygiene phobia has kept me from picking up pennies, like in New York City in the subway...wonder what great things I missed out on??

  11. If there's a hat on the bed and there is still a head in it, then that's bad!
    Sorry--I'm overwhelmed with things to do before I leave for Europe and at such times I get silly

  12. Today's blog made me call my parents and come up with a list of what weird superstitions we could recall. Here's the LONG list, especially for Jan!
    Never go out a different door/window than the way you entered.

    Always rub 2 red bricks together on your doorstep every morning before leaving the house, to remove any bad gris-gris. (spells)

    If the wind changes direction while you're pouting, your face will stay stuck in that expression. Likewise, if you make a face in the mirror when lightning strikes, your face will remain that way.

    If children are bad,the lou-lou (boogeyman) or the loup-garous (werewolves) will get them. And all the kids were afraid of Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans, snatching them up for misbehaving.

    If someone passes a mop over your foot, you'll never marry. (Same thing if you raise your feet to let someone sweep underneath you.)

    Never eat both ends of a loaf of bread before you’ve eaten the middle — if you do, you’ll have trouble making ends meet.

    Never sweep dirt from your floor out the door after dark, it's bad luck.

    Hang a mirror on your porch by the door to protect your house from the Devil/evil.

    If you drop a dish towel, it means company's coming soon.

    If your left hand itches you'll come into some money, if your right hand itches you'll meet an old friend.(or have company) If your nose itches it means a fool wants to kiss you.

    If you kill a spider after dark,you'll have good luck.

    If an alligator crawls under your house, it could be a sign that death is coming. (HAH!)

    Beware of the "evil eye"--if strange or bad things begin to happen, someone may have put a curse on you. One way to remove it is to have someone who loves you pour olive oil onto a plate over your head and say a special prayer.

    To ward off the Evil Eye, wear red coral jewelry. And if you give the "horns" hand symbol to someone wearing the jewelry, the curse will come back onto you.

    Bury a statue of St. Joseph upside down in your yard if you're trying to sell your house.

    Always use a new broom when you move to a new house, to sweep away evil spirits. Same goes with sprinkling salt in the corners of a room. BUT, if you pour salt across someone's doorstep it may bring death to the house.

    Put a new coin on the windowsill on New Year's Eve (head's up) for good luck.

    Always put your sock or stocking on the left foot first to avoid bad luck.

    If a dog howls or barks at midnight it means bad news is coming.

    Having a bird in the house (as a pet or if one just flies in or or even having a decorative peacock feather) brings bad luck.

    Always place a loaf of bread face-up to avoid bad luck and starvation.

    Never put a new pair of shoes on the kitchen table.

    Never hand someone a knife; put it on the table and let them pick it up.

    Always throw spilled salt over your RIGHT shoulder to avoid bad luck--unlike the Sicilians in the family who throw it over the LEFT.

    If a black cat crosses your path, spit three times or you'll have bad luck.

    To remove a wart, rub it with a cut potato and bury the potato in the ground. And if you have a sore throat, tie a hot potato in a sock and sleep with it around the throat.

    It's bad luck to hear a young girl whistling.

    Never place a bed facing a door. And always make sure a sick person's bed faces north and south.

    It's good luck if a hen and her baby chicks come inside your house.
    If a rooster comes to your door and crows it means you'll soon have company. Unless it crows as you're leaving on a trip, then it's a bad omen, so avoid traveling.

    It's bad luck if someone falls down in a cemetery. Means someone will die soon.

    When it rains while the sun still shines, it means the Devil is beating his wife. (?)

  13. I forgot to mention that I wore my silver fleur- de- lis earrings when the Saints won the Super Bowl for the first time ever last year! And I made gumbo to eat while watching, so I'm convinced I helped them win!

    And, btw, I have no idea either why it's bad luck to put a hat on the bed or open an umbrella indoors, unless with the pointy umbrella you could poke an eye out!

  14. Roberta,

    Jungle Red golf outing -- what a great idea! I'm in.

    On the superstition side, tonight's ballgame is tied at 2. I need to get my Sox karma going.

    Brenda Buchanan

  15. Sox over the Yankees 5 -4 tonight. Although I will admit Pap made me nervous in the 9th.

    Go Sox!

  16. Wow Lynn,
    I think you have SEVERAL novels in those superstitions. I'm making a print out myself!

    Thanks Brenda and Linda for your good luck karma for the game last night -- Keep it going tonight if you can!

    Lynn, congrats on your INTEGRAL part in helping the Saints win! last year.


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  18. Good job on Saturday night's game, Brenda and Linda.

    Send out your best vibes tonight for a SWEEP.