Friday, July 18, 2008
Good Luck Charms and Memories

There is an antique copy of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan and Wendy that resides on a table in my bedroom. It is green cloth with gold lettering and it is filled, three or four to a page, with four-leaf clovers. Inexplicably, and through no fault of my own, I have always been able to easily find four-leaf clovers. Without trying. I just look down, or over, or yon, and there is one looking back at me. This happens when I’m lolling about my back garden, it happens when I’m visiting someone else’s back garden, when I’m just strolling along or when I’m running with Edward. I just seem to glance to the side and, voila, a four-leaf clover. I stop, pluck it, put it in my pocket, and later place it with the others in my green book. I have done this for many years, and now the book is stuffed with these little symbols of green good luck. Growing up, I never considered this to be an unusual thing but later others began to tell me that it was, indeed, not exactly the norm.

Once, whilst visiting my husband’s uncle, this little peculiarity of mine became a bit of a problem. Uncle Rob was well into his nineties and had always lived on the same piece of daffodil covered land in a quirky little rock house that he had built himself. Most of the world’s so-called progress had eluded him and he quite preferred it that way. His ideas were old ones and he remained a contented part of an earlier mindset and a simpler time. On this particular sunny afternoon, my husband and I were up in Uncle Rob’s back garden having a visit. While the gentlemen conversed I was sort of daydreaming and gazing around. Sure enough, I looked down and spied, per usual, a four-leaf clover. I picked it and handed it over to Uncle Rob. He was delighted. “Would you look at that! That’s a lucky girl!” Well, they continued to talk and, once again, I looked to the side and... you guessed it. When I handed this one to the old man, his reaction was a bit more muted, still excited but... I thought he might have looked at me, well, a little funny, but figured it was just the light or my imagination. Well, by the time I handed over the fifth one, my husband was vigorously shaking his head at me from behind his uncle, and Uncle Rob was most certainly looking at me differently than anyone had ever looked at me before. A sidelong narrow-eyed stare, as if he’d heard about people like me in his time, but had never before seen one in the flesh.
I think from that day on, he was never exactly certain whether or not I was capable of turning him into a badger, and he wasn’t about to find out.

Uncle Rob has been gone several years now and we all miss him. A few days ago, I stopped in front of what used to be his homeplace. There are luxury condos there now. No leafy trees, no daffodils, no four-leaf clovers. Yet, I can close my eyes and see them all clearly. I am grateful for that. Just as I am grateful for my Peter Pan book full of
good luck charms and memories.