Last night I dreamt that my father was alive, and when I woke I was thinking of all the superstitions he practiced and taught me. He believed in premonitions and ghosts, too. He and my southern cousin, Hadie, loved superstitions and loved to tell them to me. Some they laughed about, but others they practiced. My father, for example, never passed the salt hand-to-hand. He said it was bad manners to do so. Here are a few of their superstitions. I know there are more, but I can't remember them now . . .
1. Never pass the salt hand-to-hand. If you do, you might spill it. Spilled salt, everyone knows, is a bad omen.
2. If you spill salt, toss a pinch of it right hand over left shoulder. If you don't, bad luck will happen to you or someone you love.
3. If you wake up before 7AM on the first day of the month, you have to say bunny, bunny. Say this before saying another word. If you don't, you will never escape the mean kids on the playground or the bad luck that is already blowing your way.
4. If you are at a party, and suddenly everyone is quiet, start your watch. Take note. Because this happens every twenty minutes. Yep, every twenty minutes, the world goes silent, but just for a second. That's when the dead trade places with the living.
5. Hold your breath while passing a graveyard, or the dead will listen in on your secrets and dreams.
6. If you leave flowers on a bus or a train, your future love will find them and know you are thinking of him.
7. If a bird flies in the house, death will soon follow.
8. If you see a ghost walking by the sea, a hurricane is brewing. Leave immediately, or you will be washed out to sea.
9. If you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, you must remember your dreams. Otherwise your dreams will stalk you, ruining your life for days, weeks, months . . .
10. If you are eating a piece of pie, always eat the point last. You can wish on it, and the wish will come true, but only if you don't eat another bite until dinner time.
11. If you listen to your heartbeat for a long time, the distance between one beat and the next will lengthen. In this way you can slow down your life.
AWP in Minneapolis, and recommended reading
3 weeks ago