Ethel, you are more than welcome.
* * *
That sleep thang isn't working for me tonight. Again.
I told a friend earlier that insomnia is like having a light left on in my head all the time, and my thoughts are drip, drip, dripping like a leaky faucet in the bath.
So I promised Mysteria that if I couldn't sleep I would tell the story of the Lucky Beans. For those of you who don't know what a lucky bean is, it is a dried fava bean, given as a token of luck on St. Joseph's Day--pretty much as stated in this thread:
* * *
My husband is a son of a packrat, who was the son of a packrat, so I suppose I'm fighting tradition (at the least) if not some genetically inclined obsessive compulsive disorder of accumulation. This has become altogether too apparent to me, as I struggle to design renovations for a house that he inherited from his father, which pretty much served the purpose of a three bedroom filing cabinet.
I keep finding "collections" of things, and with every discovery, there must be an earnest discussion of the importance of that collection--keep it? where? (Yes, watch Karen nod hopefully, "let's just throw it away!") and yes, all of this leads me to the topic of the "lucky beans".
In order to reach that wall that I so gleefully boasted about having removed earlier--I first had to clean a small kitchen counter.
Sounds easy, right?
Beneath the piles of old lotto tickets, plastic mardi gras cups, I finally saw the seafoam green countertop, and there, in a neat pile of about twenty count, was a pile of dried fava beans.
I was a rookie then, so I exclaimed aloud,
"Wouldja just look at this!"
"What?" My husband asked, with some concern.
(He really gets nervous when I clean.)
"It's a pile of beans," I answered, ready to sweep them into the garbage can.
"That's my lucky bean collection."
(Here's where ya'll picture me rubbing my head and trying to be patient.)
"You have a Lucky Bean collection?"
"That's them." he replied.
"Um, they all look alike..."
He looked pained and he knew what was coming.
"But they were my Dad's."
"Well they weren't very lucky for him, now were they?"
He managed to look sheepish, so for the moment, I relented and told him,
"Here, we'll keep them in this jar. If you find any more Lucky Beans, add them to this jar, okay? Like things go with like things" (I didn't mean to be condescending, but he is not only a packrat, but a disorganized one at that.)
So they sat in the windowsill for about a week before I pulled out my secret weapon.
* * *
I called his 75-year old mother.
* * *
I inquired about her health, and she inquired about ours, and I gave her an update on the work we'd been doing in the home. Then I mentioned the various things we'd come across--I told her I'd set much aside in case there was something she'd like to keep for sentimental value.
Like, perhaps, the Lucky Beans?
I proceeded to explain.
"Put my son on the phone."
I smiled and handed it to him.
He listened, and said, "okay" and threw the dried beans in the garbage.
* * *
I asked her what she had said to him, and as best as I can explain to you all (gawd I wish I could type her N'awlins accent--oh, I just did, dawlin') she had explained to him that Lucky Beans were only lucky if you were of Italian descent. Furthermore, lucky beans are apparently a devious plot of the Italian race to take over the world--because every St. Joseph's Day, they toss these cursed beans to unsuspecting non-Italians, who unwittingly collect their doom in the form of dried fava beans, carrying their misfortunes in their pockets, foolishly thinking they were protected by the great St. Joseph, when in fact, it was just the opposite.
When I'd heard this story she'd concocted, I whistled with admiration.
Is she good or what?
I have much to learn from my mother-in-law.
(And please, all folks of Italian descent or otherwise, take this with the humor in which its presented.)
* * *
Shaking my head. They ask me why I can't sleep.
* * *
* * *
We're serving up fried liver with fava beans and a nice chianti...
The chianti might be safe.
Now let me go try this sleep thang again.