For Example

I could send you this one, which I found this weekend along Old Greensboro Road, before I went kayaking on the Haw River. It’s a little busted up because I put it in the dry bag with my camera and forgot about it until the next morning.

I had mixed luck on my kayak trip–it stormed, but I saw a bald eagle toward the end. However, I offer it to you with the idea, expressed in one of my favorite Edward P. Jones stories, “Old Boys, Old Girls,” that a good-luck piece can be passed on to someone else, revived. In that story, Caesar, who is not insane but is “three doors from it,” is given a lucky rabbit’s foot by his Lorton cellmate, just before the cellmate is released. Jones explains the prison economy of lucky key chains and lucky dirty calendars:

It was the way among all those men that when a good-luck piece had run out of juice, it was given away with the hope that new ownership would renew its strength.

In general I love the vulnerability that superstition reveals. Think of Henry Dobbins, who wore his girlfriend’s hose around his neck in The Things They Carried.


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