Janet’s World: A mystical yard of lucky charms

Janet’s World: A mystical yard of lucky charms

Janet’s World

By Janet Gilbert

11:39 p.m. EDT, August 14, 2010

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Is good luck something you can amass and store up for future use, by simply acquiring large numbers of items that are widely regarded as good-luck charms?

I certainly hope so, because we in Janet’s World are positively stockpiling good luck around here. And I’m talking tasteful good luck, not tacky good luck. For example, when you queue up at my residence early Monday morning for the opportunity to touch a good-luck Gilbert on his or her way to work, you will not have to wade through distasteful piles of dingy rabbits’ feet or rusty horseshoes. But you might just unknowingly tread upon our mystical yard of four-leaf clovers. And that, on its own, might bring you good fortune.

It all started at the beginning of this summer, when my husband was standing out in the backyard at 5:40 a.m., waiting for our dog to accomplish his morning deliverable. How undignified. But it is precisely in these ordinary moments that true greatness often reveals itself with unprecedented verve: While my husband was practicing his management-by-walking-around technique with his dog, he suddenly bent down and plucked not one, but two four-leaf clovers!

He quickly came inside and presented them to me.

“Can you believe this?” he said, placing the two four-leaf specimens on the kitchen counter.

I could not. I had not even had my first cup of coffee, and yet I got a surprising jolt from the vision of two four-leaf clovers at 5:42 a.m. Truthfully, we did not immediately start talking about playing the lottery, or betting on a horse, or heading off to Atlantic City next weekend to feed the slots. I suppose we have never measured our luck by money, but by the people in our lives — our children, family members, friends, neighbors, teachers, coworkers and so on. And we certainly haven’t experienced a dearth of clover-like influence in those relationships, so evidently what we have going on right now is a cosmic surplus of four-leaf luck, a boon, a treasure trove of blessings.

My husband and I spent a few minutes conferring about whom we might give the clovers to, until we looked at the clock and realized we ought to get ready for work, because, as luck would have it, we had almost frittered away our entire breakfast time. First, though, my husband pressed the clovers perfectly flat, between wax paper sheets in the largest book I own, the esteemed Harrap’s Shorter French-English Dictionary. Though I no longer use it, I cannot part with this massive dictionary because it consistently allowed me to express myself in convoluted ways during my junior year in college in France. In fact, it just now helped me construct the following phrases in French, which I have directly translated for your enjoyment:

“The excessively stout dictionary of two languages, huzzah! It is of use to us again, as the repository of clovers celadon with the four mutant leaves.”

I simply can’t open this dictionary now without coming upon a four-leaf — or even that rarest of the rare, five-leaf — clover.

Since that morning a few short weeks ago, we have collected more than two or three four-leaf clovers a week from our yard. Is it our lucky dog’s random fertilizing techniques that are resulting in this bumper crop of karma? What does this mean?

The cynical might say that it means our yard has had some adverse reaction to pesticides and that it’s more of a doomsday sign for the environment than a harbinger of happiness for us.

But I know better. And so I’m spreading the good luck, starting with this column, which, if you fold it just so, is perfect for flattening a clover of your own. All you have to do is look around, in the most unexpected places of your life.

Copyright © 2010, The Baltimore Sun

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