Separate superstitions from traditions | Editorial columnists
Are you superstitious? In one study, 25% of those surveyed admitted they were. This tells me that 75% do not believe it, but will not take risks. They don’t walk under ladders; avoid black cats and the number 13, while pretending not to be superstitious.
I admit that I am and that I have all the qualifications. I was brought up in the rural south by elders whose existence was based on signs and portents to ensure a good harvest and a healthy life. It can be difficult to separate a superstition from a tradition.
When and what we planted was based on tradition. This is why the “Farmer’s Almanac” has been found in most rural homes and second only to the Holy Bible. My grandmother believed that Moses came down from the mountain with the Ten Commandments under one arm and the King James Version under the other.
I’ve been exposed to it all my life. As children we would be careful not to step on the sidewalk cracks. “Walk over a crack and you break your mom’s back. I bet you don’t remember.
Every year we had our “pig slaughter”. The weather had to be cold to preserve the meat or it would spoil, and it had to be in the correct phase of the moon. Otherwise, the fat would not come out. Have you ever noticed that sometimes your bacon isn’t crispy the way it should? This is because commercial growers are constantly processing, not just when the moon is good.
My grandfather always planted potatoes on St. Patrick’s Day. He said if he didn’t, the bugs would eat them. He always had a good harvest. I think it’s ironic that the Irish potato needs to be planted on St. Patrick’s Day. Food Lion doesn’t advertise when theirs have been planted, only the price.
I started out as a telephone lineman and we were digging and installing poles manually. Sometimes we had to find extra soil to fill in the hole, even with a post in it. Other days we had dirt left over. The only explanation I would get from the elders was “This is the phase of the moon.”
I also did a stint with a rescue squad unit and saw changes in human behavior on different phases of the moon. Go to the ER on a full moon and you might see more police filling out reports than hospital staff.
I think athletes are more superstitious than most people. As a bat boy, I made sure that bats were never crossed. Later, as a player, I made sure not to step on the foul line when entering or leaving the pitch.
Let me have a good game and I will make sure I eat the same meal and have the same routine before the next game. I was not alone. I guarantee 99% of professional and amateur athletes have a pre-game ritual.
The strangest I can remember was the late Pete Maravich. “Pistol Pete” has played nearly 750 basketball games during his college and professional career. No big deal you tell me. Suppose I tell you that he wore the same pair of socks for each of his matches for those 14 years? I can’t even keep a pair together for 14 washes!
I could go on, but I’ll let you think about your own superstitions and traditions. By the way, don’t forget to count the number of foggy days in September. This is the amount of snowfall you can expect next winter. God bless you and have a nice day.
William Rowell is a resident of Perquimans County.