Granny always said there’d be dog days

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I wanna put something in the paper about Dog Days make bad luck worse.

Grannie hated Dog Days. The sultry days of August filled her with dread. She was always on the lookout for mad dogs, the kinds insects with a stinger, and any and all kinds of critters that, during this season of the year, could do a body in.

“Better watch out for bees. A bee sting could kill you,” she would say, scaring the living daylights out of any kid on the place “Better not step on a nail. You could get lockjaw and die,” she warned and we shuddered knowing there was a good possibility of any of her prophecies coming true.

Grannie knew. Her life was ruled by superstitions, and we never doubted her. From her, I learned that killing a ladybug brings bad luck. Now I know that ladybugs eat aphids or some kind of harmful pests, and that they are good friends to gardeners. Then, I thought killing one would case the earth to open up and swallow me, or something worse, because Grannie said killing ladybugs brought bad luck.

She believed an itching nose meant company was coming. I still believe it. If you step on a crack, you will break your mother’s back was rather difficult to heed, since the floors always had cracks big enough to see through. To this day, I kiss a turned-up hem before I straighten it. That means I will get a new dress. And I suppose I will if I wait long enough.

I lived in dread when I watermelon. Grannie told me if I swallowed a seed, a vine would grow out the top of my head. Spiling salt invited disaster unless you threw a pinch over your left shoulder. Sweeping the floor after dark was just as bad. No telling what evil could pounce from such a transgression. When your tooth falls out, don’t stick your tongue in the hole, or the new tooth will turn to gold. Climb over somebody in bed and expect the worst kind of luck. Never take an old broom into a new house. If someone sweeps under your feet, you will never marry.

If your palm itches, you will get some money. If your shoestring becomes untied, someone is talking about you.

An owl hooting at midnight means somebody in the family will have an accident. To prevent the accident, turn an old shoe upside down.

Put the hand o fa sleeping person in a pan of water, and he will truthfully answer any question you ask. Grannie lived her entire life surrounded by a cloud of superstition. And anything bad was going to be twice as bad during dog days. No way would I argue with her about it.

These things are what Dog Days can do.

Barbara Sue Dennis