Ivers of Amarillo
suggested writing about old-time superstitions.
When I began asking friends about this subject I learned many early-day
superstitions are alive and well today. As my research continued,
I had problems differentiating between superstitions, old sayings,
old wives' tales and plain old exaggerated lies.
The degree of belief in superstition seemed to depend on where you
were born and raised. The most serious believers come from the Appalachian
Mountains and the deep south.
Most agreed it was not superstition but stupid to walk under a ladder
where something could fall on your head. However, these same people
agreed that breaking a mirror most certainly brought seven years of
bad luck. Even those who scoffed at superstitions remembered to say
bless you when someone sneezed and took detours when a black cat tried
to cross their path. They might not believe, but wanted to be safe,
just in case.
The number 13 makes everyone nervous. Friday the 13th is well known
as a day on which to be careful. Many tall buildings don't have a
13th floor as no one wants to lease office space or spend the night
at that numerical level. The popular movie "Oh God" had God living
on the 13th floor of a large hotel.
Remember your mother telling you not to cross your eyes as they might
lodge permanently in that position? When walking along a sidewalk,
never step on a crack as it might break your mother's back. It would
be interesting to know how this old saying came about.
Many people carry a rabbit's foot on their key chain for good luck
in spite of the fact it wasn't so lucky for the rabbit.
How about a St. Christopher's medal? Does it work? My son has carried
a lucky silver dollar so long the engraving is worn off smooth and
it's now practically worthless.
Finding a four-leaf clover predicts a lucky future for the finder
and when hanging a horseshoe over you door for luck, be sure to turn
to open end up so your good luck doesn't spill out.
If you spill salt, throw a pinch over your right shoulder for good
luck. The left shoulder is bad luck no doubt.
Superstitions and old wives' tales overlap with pregnant women. Women
in the late term of pregnancy should not go to funerals or see crippled
or handicapped individuals as it might mark their unborn baby. A friend
had an aunt born with a white streak in her hair who firmly believed
her mother was frightened by a skunk just before giving birth.
Why do we throw rice at weddings and why do brides wear something
old, new, borrowed and blue?
If you let someone sweep under your feet you will never marry, so
Weathermen should watch the moon closely as a tilted moon pours water
out in the form of rain.
Always re-enter your house through the same door you left to promote
Finally, if your palm itches, plan on having company soon. If your
nose itches, someone is coming with a hole in their britches.
© Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew"October
3, 2006 Column