Traditions vs. Superstitions

Traditions have always fascinated me. Some of them seem to have some pretty logical basis, then there are others. My grandmother was of the old German school with all those superstitions, like dropping a fork meant you’re going to meet a woman. Or don’t let a black cat run across in front of you, it’ll bring bad luck. Now the part about it being bad luck to walk under a ladder makes sense. I never seem to be able to remember to serve from the left and take away from the right,  or is it vice versa? Grandma had a big wooden barrel at the end of the downspout on her house. That water was to wash her hair and water houseplants. Turns out that this one has reason. It’s softer water for hair washing and rain water has built-in nitrogen, so it not only waters, but fertilizes the plants.  We learned this in 2011 when we watered the garden with well water, barely keeping it alive. Then a half inch rain would come and it looked like we’d thrown a bag of triple thirteen on the garden.

Some of the traditions are in the gray zone,  like the Mexican horse breaker who said “An old Arab told me to stroke my horses forelock seven times a day.” Well, seven is thought to be a magic number, but I bet if you went out and caressed your horse six or eight or even five times a day he’d be gentler. So would your wife and kids. Then there was the time Charlie Hancock’s mom was asked “Jewel, how many eggs do you want?” She couldn’t answer! She’d always scrambled eggs.  she ate “a scoop.” My buddy Carl tells of the guy who always cut the tip off a roast before he’d put it in the oven.  One day his older brother asked him why he did that? He said it was what mom always did.  Brother laughed and said “Well, that was because it was the only way she could fit it into her pot! She cut off the tip because the pot was too small!”

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