My father slowed the car down to a crawl. My mother, her cheeks puffed out like a chipmunk carrying a load of nuts, punched him playfully in the arm. We three children held our noses and felt dizzy.
We looked out the window at the acreage of graveyard. I would see up ahead that it ended at the set of lights. My oldest brother leg go his breath and yelled "Dad, not fair"!
My father laughed and pretended to gasp for air. I didn't figure out that he cheated and was inhaling through his nose for years.
We always held our breath when we passed a cemetery. The superstition told that if you didn't you would die or worse you would inhale the soul of one of the deceased.
I am Italian. We love our superstitions. My relatives wore the cornicello (the twisted red pepper to protect mojo) and the mano cornuta (the hand gesture using your pinky and index finger like horns pointed downward) to ward off the Evil Eye, around their necks.
My Grandmother tested for Malocchio (the evil eye) with plop olive oil in a plate of water. If the oil forms one large drop in the middle it is a bad sign. But, the women in the family held the power or prayer, which could break the oil up in to tiny droplets and cure the curse. She chanted, with her rosemary beads daily to keep us from harm.
I remember these images from my childhood vividly, but never practiced them as an adult. Or so I thought.
Today, for the 24 Things Challenge, I was cleaning out my son's room and I tended to a couple of dresser drawers that have turned into his junk drawers. I found lost lego figures, twenty-two, tiny bouncy balls, key chains, notes I have written him, and two sets of rosary beads.
I have no idea where these rosary beads came from. Once I was too old for my mother to drag me to church I never went back. We don't practice any organized religion in our home but, we talk about all different kinds of beliefs with our son.
When I saw the rosary beads I chuckled at the quaint superstitions of my childhood. But as I took a closer look around the room and saw how much I still carry in my life and have unwittingly passed on to my son.
He had two dream catchers handing by his bed, a bag of worry dolls in the nightstand, a chunk of pink quartz that I placed next to his bed when he was born, my mall beads hangs next to a beaded, african, chain with elephant holding his trunk high.
I was surrounded and wondered how I had never noticed all of this before. My office perpetually smells of incense, I wear healing beaded yoga bracelets, and ring my bells and singing bowls after I guest leave my house. Seriously, how have I not noticed this before? I thought that because my practices fall into the category of New Age, they somehow were not considered superstitious.
I am not ready to let go of all my talismans but for Day 15, I will start with one or two. I am sure it will be fine. (knock on wood).