Recently, I spent two days in a seminar that dealt with new technology, data banks, web sites, wireless communications, and a whole bunch of titles of electronic devices that could only be described by initials. It seemed everyone else in attendance knew exactly what was being presented except me. I was as lost as last year's Easter egg in tall grass. Those who know me, and a few who don't, know that my expertise falls more in things of days gone-by than what the future may hold.
I'm all for new technology. It is just trying to understand something that is explained in initials that seems to boggle my mind. I'm more comfortable with old wives' tales than with a data bank that uses a T-1 line and is supported by IT personnel 24/7.
In this day of computers, modern science, and economic confusion there is one fact that still remains out in the rural countryside of Tennessee and that is that the folklore and superstitions of one generation continues to be passed down to the next.
A couple of years ago I wrote a column that included many of those "old wives tales" and I have had numerous request to repeat them. I usually don't like to repeat some things I write, but after the recent meeting of "high-tech confusion" it just may be a good idea to go back to our roots this one time.
Just as in years gone by, "old wives' tales" still help many of us explain life and just why some things happen. My grandmother kept me well informed on many folklore happenings and she usually explained it without a single initial involved.
Over the years, I have filed away several of the familiar and not-so-familiar tales. At times I have even shared them with my readers which is only for information and not to convince anyone that they are totally true. That's my disclaimer and I'm sticking to it. Here are many of those you have said you would like to see again.
For example, if a woman carries an acorn in her pocket, she will never grow old. I know several who have tried this, and the only thing they have accomplished is preventing a lot of oak trees from growing old.
Another one is sleeping in the moonlight can cause insanity. That reminds me. I have got to get that shade in our bedroom fixed.
Now if you happen to be a single woman, there are a few things you may do to find Mr. Right or Mr. Wrong whichever the case may be. I said these are not totally fool-proof.
One is to put a four-leaf clover on your door and you'll marry the first bachelor who comes in the door. If this was true, four-leaf clovers would soon become a curse to bachelors like garlic is to vampires.
If you want to know the name of your husband-to-be, put a snail in a plate of corn meal and leave it overnight. The snail will spell the initials of the person you'll marry. If the snail does not write out the initials, he is already breaded, so enjoy some escargot.
For gardeners, if you are looking for rain, here are a few things to watch for.
When the dew is on the grass, rain will never come to pass. Cute poem, but I wouldn't plan my car wash by it.
If it rains before seven, it'll quit before eleven.
Trees with underside of the leaves showing mean a "bad" storm is on its way. However, a tree without leaves and limbs, means a bad storm has already happened.
The one that always confuses me, is how to tell the weather from a wooly worm. I never know if it is going to be a bad winter if he is all black or all orange. So I looked it up. Here is what a famous folklore book said. The black band on the wooly worm is wide if there is going to be a bad winter. The more black than brown he is, and/or the wider the black stripe, the worse the winter. If he's black in front, the bad weather is to come; and if he's black behind, the worst weather is past. If he's brown at both ends and orange in the middle, the winter will be mild. It'll be a bad winter if you see him crawling before the first frost.
However, if he is flat, it means he is too slow for a fast car. This one is mine and probably makes about as much sense as the others.
None of these are high-tech, but they have been around for several years. If I had to say, they probably will still be around after T-1 lines and data bases are obsolete.