Friday, July 9, 2010


"Look at those storm clouds piling up - quick, somebody go wash the cars!"

Reuben was working in the garden Wednesday afternoon when he made the above comment. Drenched with sweat, he was digging irrigation trenches between the rows of pole beans. Our garden and the hay field around the house are burning up in the heat and drought currently toasting Obion County. Of course, washing the cars wouldn't trigger a rain shower, but desperate times call for desperate measures, right?

Reuben is a Calvinist. So am I. In a nut shell, that means we believe in the absolute sovereignty of God. Nothing happens outside His purpose and will. Nothing is a product of luck or chance or random forces in the universe. Nothing - not even drought, nor rain on freshly-washed cars. As one contemporary theologian puts it, there are no maverick molecules in God's economy.

We Calvinists are so self-conscious about inadvertently denying God's sovereignty that expressions like "Good luck!" or "I guess it was/wasn't my fate..." or "As chance would have it..." make us squirm. In the face of blessings and happy circumstances, we might comment, "God's providence has smiled on us!" In the face of tragedy, "This is a heavy providence." Blessing or trial, both come to us only through the hand and under the direction of our loving Father.

Still, we are country folk, and fallen, too, with old habits that die hard. Occasionally we slip into superstitious speech, if not superstitious belief. If you wash the cars today, it's more likely to rain - Not! This got me to thinking of funny superstitions and expressions I've encountered over the years. I had an Iranian friend who said that in her country, it is considered bad luck to trim your finger or toe nails after sundown. Another friend told me of this peculiar superstition: If you whip your peach trees with a hose during the first full moon after they bloom, they will produce more fruit. (Did I get that right, Donna?) For good luck, a bride wears "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue." Find a penny, pick it up: all day long you'll have good luck! How many of us, at least as children, have altered our stride to avoid stepping on a crack in the sidewalk?

Well, Dear Reader, what about you? What silly superstitions can you share with us?


Donna said...

Yes, Camille, I think that's correct. However, I believe it was KKB that suggested doing it in the nude was more successful.
For shame... from where does one get such ideas!?

Anonymous said...

Any time Emily and I are going somewhere and it looks like rain, I bring my umbrella and it doesn't. If I don't pack it, we will get soaked.
This hasn't failed me yet.

Anonymous said...

My Grandmother always told me that if you sew on Sunday, you will have to remove each stitch with your nose when you get to Heaven. As an adult I think that sounds more like hell to me!

tracy said...

I still eat black-eyed peas and hog jowl on the first day of each new year. Momma always said that it couldn't hurt.

@Dennis - God, in His all-knowing glory, knows before you do whether or not you will take the umbrella. Just saying.

Donna said...

Well, God knew I was going to leave laundry on the line today. We were gone most of the day and we were blessed with a little shower just as we arrived home late this afternoon. Suppose it is kind of like putting the flag up on the mailbox... a gentle reminder.:)