Monday, March 15, 2010

Snake bit: luck of the Green's

Saint Patrick’s Day is almost upon us, and the little leprechaun that my children try every year to catch with elaborate traps, is already creating mischief. Just today, in fact, I began to brush my teeth and bleach! realized someone had dropped a big dollop of hand soap on its bristles.

“Son! Did you accidentally drop soap on my toothbrush?” I yelled.

“No, ma’am! I didn’t do it.”

“Well, then, who did?”

“I don’t know. Nobody!” Apparently, that’s our leprechaun’s name.

Not only that, Nobody likes brownies. He likes them so much, he stashed one way up high in the cabinet. I mean, waaayy up high, as in “I have to stand on the counter to reach that cabinet” high. Methinks this was quite the extraordinary leprechaun. Not only that, he must have stashed them up there last March 17 and forgotten them because they were hard as door stoppers.

Yeah, Nobody’s been busy wreaking havoc on the household, dropping everything behind but what I could use a little of – luck. Of course, luck isn’t something I’m used to. Growing up, my sister had all of it, and I used it to my advantage.

“Christie, here take my tickets and win a cake for me,” I’d say at fall festivals.

“Lucky number 21!” the announcer would call.

“Leigh, what kind of cake do you want?”

I’ve seen her win three in a night – easy.

Sometimes we’d go to auctions and talk our parents into buying us grab bags. I don’t remember much about what was in mine, but I know what my sister had in hers – cash. Always. Every time.

I hope I don’t come across as jealous. I wasn’t. She was/is just plain lucky. Some people are, and others are like me, my dad and his father before him are what my dad calls “snake bit.”

Instead of “Rockabye Baby,” my dad used to sing the song, “Gloom, despair, and agony on me.” I loved it because I felt like our “misery” was something we shared and still do.

And, in case you are wondering, snake bit means that the day after vacation when you have an early a.m. meeting, expect your tires to be flat - on both cars! Snake bit means you cure your headache and then your eye swells. Snake bit means you play tennis fighting off sweat bees in your yellow skirt that you wore backwards while all the other women look as cool as cucumbers. Snake bit means you’ll break the light bulbs or the eggs or drop the milk before you get out of the store. Snake bit means you’ll never win the lottery, a raffle, or those concerts tickets. But, you’ll come to live with it because, occasionally, something wonderful will happen.

When my grandmother, whom we called Mama Dot - whose husband I inherited my bad luck from - passed away, the six granddaughters were instructed to draw for her wedding bands. Piggy Green, whom I’m working on a book about, had given it to her in the early 1920s. It is a beauty, white gold with diamonds, and though he died well before Mama Dot did at 99 years, she never took it off.

My snake bit daddy drew on my and my sister’s behalf, and, guess what, I won. So, though I have my frustrating days, days when I wish things would go smoothly, and I wouldn’t find brownies in the cabinet and soap on my toothbrush, I know deep down that I am actually a very lucky girl. And I won't let Nobody tell me any different.

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