Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Very Superstitious

By Martha Reed

Rabbit, rabbit.

What does that mean? Well, while we were growing up my youngest sister had a superstition that if you said ‘rabbit, rabbit’ first thing the morning of a new month then you would have exceptionally good luck for the whole month. She used to tape notes on her bedroom door and on the bathroom mirror reminding her to say ‘rabbit, rabbit’ before she ran into any of the rest of us.

We, of course, her loyal, loving family did everything in our power to get her to say something completely different and blow her luck for the month. Families are like that. It’s how we show we care.

But thinking of this superstition (because today is the first day of the month and of course thirty-five years later I still have to say ‘rabbit, rabbit” dammit who can take a chance on a months’ worth of bum luck?) made me stop to think if I had any others.

Here’s my list:

  1. Touch glass (window) when going under a railroad trestle in a car.
  2. Touch the the roof of the car if there’s a train on the trestle overhead.
  3. Read the signboard on the LEFT side of the Smithfield Church downtown because whatever is written on it is a direct message from God. I'm not joking. And it has to be the left signboard, too, not the right. Evidently, according to my superstition, the right signboard has absolutely no divine meaning whatsoever.
  4. When playing poker, if early in the game I pull an inside straight (a bonehead move that drives my poker rival Meg frantic) then I will continue to pull hot cards and have a winning night.
 How about you? Superstitions, anyone?


Annette said...

Rabbit Rabbit!

Gosh, Martha, I'd heard people talking about saying "rabbit rabbit" before, but never knew what they meant. Maybe this has been my problem all along! Thanks for clearing that up.

Does the train trestle thing apply if the train tracks have been converted to a bike trail?

Martha Reed said...

Hi, Annette.

When I check with the superstitious part of my brain the answer is yes, the trestle thing would still apply. I guess it has more to do with going under it that what its function actually is.

Don't ask me to be logical about this! Apparently, superstitions are based on emotion and logic doesn't count.

Annette said...

I dunno, Martha. I could see worrying about having a train fall on you. But a bicycle?

Jennie Bentley said...

I've never heard about the 'rabbit, rabbit' thing. Is it regional, maybe?

I don't walk under ladders. I knock on wood. I notice black cats crossing the street in front of me and get a little shiver. Same thing if I accidentally break a mirror. I tell my kids not to open umbrellas inside because it's bad luck. And I try to avoid stepping on cracks. It wigs me out a little if I accidentally do.

Do I believe any of it? Not really. It's habit, and just a little 'well, who wants a month of bad luck?' Can't hurt, right?

Martha Reed said...

Hi, Jennie. I might buy into the mirror thing and I remembered another one: don't put your shoes on the table.

That one was from my mother. It probably had more to do with germs but she made it sound ominous.

Gina said...

I never heard the 'rabbit rabbit' one, Martha. Are you sure your sister wasn't a frog? Oh, wait! That would be 'ribbit ribbit.'

I'm not very superstitious, but if anyone bumps a rocking chair I stop it rocking right away, because a chair rocking with nobody in it means somebody is going to die.

That said, I do try to make sense of signs. For example, I have my grandmother's old piano. When a note sounded one day I knew something had happened and, sure enough, my Aunt Loretta had just died. And when a bird tried to get into my house through a back window two days in a row, I knew a death was coming. My Aunt Ruth died a few days later.

Martha Reed said...

Wow, Gina, I'm sorry to hear about your aunts but the 'signs' thing is fascinating. I'm beginning to think I need to use this idea in a story. The rocking chair is creepy...

Wilfred Bereswill said...

I'm not superstitious, but it's interesting you chose that title. I've been receiving Chinese New Year notes from my friends in China. It happens to be the Year of the Rabbit.

However, if you have a superstition that would ward off all this ice & snow, I'm in.

In St. Louis today, we ACTUALLY have a Blizzard Warning.

Ramona said...

I'm not superstitious, either, otherwise I'd be bribing someone at the Smithfield Church to write "Ramona Long must win the Lottery" on that LEFT sideboard.

martha reed said...

There's a problem with asking God to win the lottery because you have to make sure to specify which one. I learned that after reading Shirley Jackson's story: The Lottery. No, you do not want to win that one.

What a wicked and creative mind she had.