You feel lucky, Punk? I do! I’m not Irish, but I know I spent at least a lifetime or two on the Emerald Isle in the past. I’ve always been attracted to all things Irish – the music, the scenery, the men (I’m a sucker for guys with dark hair and blue, green, or hazel eyes – luckily my Twin Flame happened to have those features, even though he doesn’t have a drop of Irish blood, either).. and some of the traditions.
March is the month of the Irish. St. Patrick’s Day turns rivers, beer and wardrobes green, sends people pouring into the streets wearing silly hats and makes people say weird things like “Faith an’ Begorrah,” “Top o’ the Morning to Ye,” “Erin Go Braugh” and “Kiss me, I’m Irish!” And it brings around the legends of Irish “luck,” leprechauns with pots full of gold and “lucky charms,” including the elusive four-leafed clover.
How did the Irish get so lucky? With centuries of wars, famine, discrimination (including the abiding derision of “gingers”)… they really haven’t had a historically lucky time of it. The phrase “Luck of the Irish” actually began as mockery. During the California Gold Rush of the mid 1800’s, it seemed the Irish immigrants were the ones finding all the gold. At the time, the Irish immigrants were hated, since many Americans saw them as a threat to their livelihood and way of life. Seeing them, traditionally hapless, suddenly finding gold when the “natives” couldn’t, caused the sarcastic phrase meant to imply that it was “luck,” not skill, that was making the Irish miners rich. The irony wasn’t lost on the Irish, but, since they were the ones laughing all the way to the bank, they accepted the description and wore it proudly. For many Irish immigrants, it became a self-fulfilling prophesy. Many Irish families went on to become some of the most powerful in the country.
The clover began to be associated with Ireland with the legend of St. Patrick using the three-leafed clover to teach the idea of the Holy Trinity to Irish converts. Since four-leafed clovers are much more rare, finding one was considered “lucky.” Which brings me to how this Italian became very lucky, indeed.
I’ve told the story of my friendship with Steve, who passed over eight years ago in a kayaking accident (read my April 2019 blog if you don’t remember). Well, about a year after Steve passed, I was taking my daily walk on the Kennebec Rail Trail when out of the corner of my eye I saw a four-leafed clover. It made me very happy, since I hadn’t found one since I was a kid playing in my Nonna’s back yard. What made it more special was that I walk at a pretty fast clip (about 3.5 miles per hour), and for me to spy a four-leafed clover in a field of green as I walked by was pretty amazing.
So what does this have to do with Steve? Well, a few days after I found the first few clovers, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and noticed a photo of a hand holding a five-leafed clover. It stopped me in my tracks. Especially when I realized it was a post by Steve’s daughter.
I read the text accompanying the photo. She related the story of how she went to Steve’s grave, and found a four-leafed clover there. She was taken aback by it, since she and Steve often searched for four-leafed clovers together. She said she never found one – not once – but for Steve, finding them was a matter of looking down and picking one up. I never knew this about Steve, but it didn’t surprise me. His daughter went on in her post to say that she spoke to Steve at his grave, saying – “I know you didn’t believe in this spooky kind of stuff, and I don’t either. If I find another special clover the next time I come here, I’ll believe that this was from you.” The photo of the five-leafed clover was from the next time she visited the grave. She became a believer.
After that, I started finding them, every couple of days, then every day, then multiple times a day. Not only four-leafed clovers, but five-, six-, eight- and even eleven-leafed (yes, really) clovers. And I never looked for them – they just caught my eye as I walked past, and there they were. At first I saved and pressed each one I found. Then I started finding so many that I began giving them away. I gave them to friends, family, co-workers, then strangers I met on my walks. I found so many, I stopped counting. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that I had found close to a hundred over the course of a few years. And I knew they were from Steve. Not just because of his daughter’s experience, but because I began finding them after supporting Steve’s girlfriend through a very difficult time, and because I would find them often in response to requests I made to Steve. For example, if I asked to find an especially large one, I found the tiniest one I’d ever seen. If I had a friend who was going through an especially difficult time, or was embarking on a new adventure, or needed a bit of “luck,” there it was. People would request that I find one for their Mom, or son, or whomever in their life needed a boost, and I would come back from my walk, to their astonishment, and hand them a clover. I became the “Luck Lady.” Just as interestingly, my ability to find them every time I went for a walk almost disappeared after I met my husband.
I looked it up once. The odds of finding a four-leafed clover are 1 in 10,000. A five-leafed clover, a million to one. How about one with six leaves (I’ve found many of those)? One in many millions. As I said, I’ve found a few with eight leaves, and one with eleven – astronomical odds. All while not even looking.
How have these “lucky” finds changed my life? Well, to be honest, they really haven’t. I still find them occasionally, and it always makes me smile and think of Steve. I still plan to do “something” with them some day, and I have used a few to make glass pendants and other things.
I feel that the clovers were a message from Steve. That he was with me, that he understood when things were hard for me and for those I loved. He was giving me hope, telling me to hang in there, reminding me how lucky I was every day to be alive and having supportive friends and family around me. Including him! And when I made the most precious find of all – the man with whom I knew I would spend the rest of my life, and all the lives to come – there was no need for the constant reminders. I live it every day. Lucky me!