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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sharin’ the Valley Green…



St. Patrick’s Day 2010




Where's the luck


I found my first four leaf clover of the year a few days ago. Can you find it, too?  (Photo blurry? Just pretend  you had a Guinness or two.) There’s more luck in the Valley than battered pennies. Clover patches grow prolific along Tualco Road. On my walks from now on this spring I will begin my goal of finding at least one four leaf clover per outing. I have no idea how much luck I pass on my walks. One statistic has it that for every one four leaf clover, there are 10,000 three’s There’s no slowing down to look for four leafs; the clover must announce itself as I pass by. Most times I am fooled by a couple of three leafers that have intertwined themselves and pose as a four leaf false alarm.

The traditional Irish “Shamrock” is a regular three leaf clover. It may have special powers on St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s the four leaf clover that I stoop to pluck the rest of the year.

I’ve often wondered how a four leaf comes to be. Did one of the three leaves split, round itself off into two leaves? Did that happen when some patches were visited by a mower? Is the four leafer a mutation of sorts, thus the 1 in 10,000 chance? Or, is there something else genetic going on? I tend to favor the genes explanation myself. Here’s why. It is not uncommon to find a few more four leaf clovers keeping the prominent one company. In fact the days I fail to locate a lucky clover, I visit a small clover patch that borders my garden. Every year that little patch sprouts many a four leaf; I can usually find one there without fail.

I carry my good luck home, put the slender stems in a glass of water overnight so the clover reconstitutes itself. The next day I take the clover, carefully position its leaves and press it  between the pages of two large books: A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English and The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry. Each spring as I’m about to do now, I remove last year’s luck from these two tomes and put them in a plastic box for safekeeping. I like to share my luck with others and always insert a four leaf clover in each book I give as a gift. Here’s some luck I’ll share with you this Saint Patrick’s Day. 

Sharin' the luck

As I walk out in the Valley and back, I drag my surname along with me, and in this vale of Scandinavians, Dutch, and Germans I may seem right at home with the name“Johnson.” But let the truth be known:  my paternal Grandfather adopted the commonplace “Johnson” because he tired of his Slavic last name being the target of vulgar mispronunciations.  My paternal Grandmother, however, Mary Johnson (nee’ Egan) was Irish, Louisville, County Mayo, Northern Ireland. On St. Patrick’s Day my Irish prevails. And because I’m Irish, I can joke around with my Irish heritage and share two of my favorite Irish blessings:

“May you never live to see your wife a widow!”

Get down on your hands and knees and thank the Good Lord you’re still on your feet!”

As I head to the kitchen to prepare  corned beef and cabbage in honor of the day and chill a glass for my Guinness, I wish a Happy St. Pat’s Day to each and everyone. And to the memory of my little Irish Grandmother: Mary Egan of County Mayo, Rah jay Urt, The Grace of God be with you!

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  1. I love your blog TJ. And never think about your Grandma without remembering the story of "the man from Tipperary(sp)". Keep collecting the "luck". Bellers

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  3. I hope that you haven't combined our collections. If least 100 of them our all mine! :) I found the clover easily in the picture, but pretended I'd had a few Guinnesses anyways. It was Irish Potato Soup for dinner here...considering I don't eat the meat and the cabbage is less than desirable. :)