Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Giving matter what

Detail from "The First Thanksgiving" by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe, 1914

I beg your indulgence as I take a blogging break and simply reflect upon all of which I have to be thankful. 

Like most folks I, too often, let minor things annoy me and do my share of grumbling. But then...I drive past the large fortress of a prison up the road a ways and give thanks neither I nor a loved one is in residence there. I observe a severely disabled woman laboriously crossing the street and give thanks my minor aches and pains are reminders I am able to walk about on my own two feet. I see a man riding his ramshackle bicycle in the pouring rain and give thanks for the expensive gasoline I can pump into my car. I pass by a cemetery where a graveside service is underway and give thanks for the dirt my husband tracks into the house.

Everywhere I look, whether in my own neighborhood or across the world via TV and the Internet, I am reminded of just how fortunate I am. It really is all a matter of perspective and Thanksgiving is a good opportunity to remember that universal fact. 

Have a good couple weeks, dear Reader. Thanks for stopping by...y'all come back now! (And keep counting your blessings.)


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Witch Way to Enter the House...and where to store your broom

"Witches Hut" photo by Sunblade 1500 via Wikimedia Commons
Today I am writing this post to the sound of workers installing a new front entry door on our old house. Since most everything about our century-plus-old Buttercup Cottage is just a wee bit crooked and out of plumb, installing a twenty-first century door is like pounding the proverbial square peg into the round hole. It can be done but it takes a lot of time, creativity, and a fair dose of stubborn willpower. So...drawing from this inspiration, I researched the role of doors in legend, lore, and superstition. I ran across a wonderful resource in the form of a book you can read online: 
The Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore-- Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from North Carolina. Duke University Press, 1964.

Read and heed these important rules relating to home doorways. There is a surprising number of rules involving witches. Apparently North Carolina witches are a particularly wicked group. Not one word about witches bringing good luck or granting wishes. 
"Broom" photo by Schmidti via Wikimedia Commons

Hang onto your hats. Here we go!

--"If you want to keep witches away, lay a straw broom in the doorway."
     -Don't leave a broom propped up beside the door because a witch might take it to ride on.
     -If you have a witch in your house, lay a broom in the doorway and she can't budge.
     -Apparently, witches can enter your house by stepping over the broom so if you visit a neighbor and see a broom in the doorway, don't step over it or you might be accused of witchcraft. (Yes, it seems to negate the whole witch-barring-doorway-broom thing to me too.)
    -Along those contradictory lines: if you are bewitched, lay a broomstick in the doorway and the first person to pick it up and enter is your witch.

--"If anybody comes to your house and acts crazy, go out to your front door and scatter salt, for he's a witch and it will keep the charm away."
    -If you sprinkle salt in front of your door, a witch cannot enter.

--"By hanging a sieve on the door of your home you could be assured a witch could not enter while you were asleep, because she had to go through every hole in the sieve."
    - If you fill the sieve with dirt, it makes it even harder for the witch!

"Clitheroe Museum Lucky Horse Shoe" photo by 
Clem Rutter via Wikimedia Commons
--"If you are shown a piece of hair near the door and you do not pick it up, the witches will overtake you soon."

--"If you find a horseshoe in the road, cover it with tin foil and hang it over your door. This will ward off witches."

--"If a door opens of itself, a ghost is the operator."

--"If a rooster comes up to the front door and crows five times, it is a sign of death in the family."
"Cockadoodledoo!!" by Steve Selby via Wikimedia Commons
     -There are many variations on this theme and it doesn't seem to matter whether the rooster crows at the front door or the back door, head in or head out, once or many times. Anyway you look at it, a rooster at your door is ominous!

--"If you make a window out of a door, one of your family will die." (Doesn't appear to be a time limit for this one so it's probably true. Might just take a while...)

--"If someone dies in the family, it is bad luck for everyone to go off and close the front door." (There are many rules about leaving doors and windows open following a death at home so the deceased person's spirit is free to leave the house.)

I know there are many more superstitions and "rules" regarding doors but I think this is enough to keep me and my new door busy. (Now...if you hear me complaining because I can't find the sieve to strain the tea, just remind me to check the front door.)

Have a good couple weeks, dear Reader. Thanks for stopping by...y'all come back now!