Since today is the second Friday the 13th in as many months, I thought I’d talk about superstition. I don’t think of myself as superstitious. I mean, I walk under ladders all the time, step on cracks, have had numerous black cats cross my path, and have dropped and broken more mirrors than I can count.
But our luck has been a bit on the thin side of late, so last month on Friday the 13th, Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man and I were debating whether or not we should tempt fate by going out that day. To make matters worse, as I walked down to get the mail that morning, a black cat that hangs around our property darted out across my path.
“Hee, hee,” I giggled nervously, when I got back, trying to be jaunty and nonchalant. “You’ll never believe what just happened when I walked down the driveway!” I told Tom about the cat.
“Ha, ha,” chortled Tom. “That’s pretty funny that that happened on Friday the 13th!”
We both laughed loudly and heartily. Then it got very quiet. I chewed my lip and Tom stroked his chin worriedly. We looked down at the floor, then at each other.
“So, what do you think?” I said.
Tom thought a while. “You know, maybe with Valentine’s Day coming the next day, it erases the curse. Kind of like when Glinda the Good Witch comes around and weakens the power of the Bad Witch.”
“Yeah, maybe you’re right!” I brightened at the thought. But then it occurred to me that some people think love a curse and perhaps would find a grim satisfaction in the fact that the Love Day followed the Curse Day.
But in the end, we went out anyway, had a real good time, and nothing bad happened though we tried every single sample at Sam’s Club, even that shrimp that tasted a little funky.
So, no, we’re not really superstitious. But there is the matter of our wind-up dashboard guardian angels. The Archie McPhee catalog where I got them many, many years ago called them “parking goddesses.” But we don’t have much need for spiritual parking assistance out here in the country, so I think of them as our traveling guardian angels. They’re made of shiny silver plastic, as you can see, with wings that move up and down when you wind up the little knob on back.
And, Lord knows, with a 1982 Volvo DL with nearly 240,000 miles on it, we need all the divine intervention we can get. And lest you’re thinking Oh that silly Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl!…well, in the nineteen years we’ve had her, we’ve never been stranded on the side of the road with that car (other than a recent flat tire). And lest you’re still thinking Oh that silly Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl!, let me tell you a little story about the day our dashboard guardian angel fell over.
One day a little over a year ago, Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man had occasion to drive my Camry. Now he is a man who moves expansively, with big, sweeping motions and somehow, he managed to knock over my dashboard guardian angel. I noticed her lying on her side on my way out to get groceries. I found some clean Kleenexes in the car and made her a soft bed to lie in until I could get back home and attach her securely to the dashboard.
But in the course of bringing in groceries, putting up groceries, eating groceries, etc., I forgot. And there she lay, in her soft little tissue bed, alone and forgotten and unable to flap her silvery wings. The next day, Tom moved my Camry to change the oil. Afterwards, when he started the car to put it back in its parking place, it refused to go in reverse and refused to do so until much, much later when we paid the nice transmission man two thousand dollars to fix it. Perhaps you remember my writing about it here and here.
Coincidence? You be the judge. For my part, I would like to pay homage to our dashboard guardian angel—winged protector and shining chaperone of all of our most perilous journeys. You have served us well, noble dashboard defender, and I thank you. May you always fly with us through the darkest night, down rain-swept roads and freezing, frosty freeways.
But like I said—I’m not really superstitious. What about you? Any rabbit’s foots in those pockets, any lucky pennies in your purse? Are those your fingers crossed behind your back—clutching wilted four-leaf clovers?