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Knock on Wood – Can an Expression Change Your Luck?
Has your palm ever itched?
As I was drifting off to sleep the other night my left palm itched and I scratched it, thinking to myself I’ll be coming into money. Where did that come from? I remember my mamma used to say that if my palm itched, I would come into money. Hmmm, how did she know that? Once when I asked her she said that her mother had said it, and she remembered her Grandmother saying it, so it was a saying passed down through the family.
Doing some research to see if others think they are coming into money if their palm itches I found that some people believe that if your left palm itches you will pay money out and if your right palm itches you will be receiving money. Well no wonder my itching palms never brought me riches. I never paid attention to whether I paid out money when my left palm itched, so who knows, it might really predict the flow of money.
Mamma had other sayings she would quote at the appropriate time; such as “The devil is beating his wife” if it rained while the sun was shining. When she would say that I always felt sorry for the devil’s wife and I wondered why anyone would marry the devil. My research didn’t shed any light on why a sunshower (rain falling while the sun was shining) would make people comment on the devil and his wife, but apparently many cultures have similar sayings, and one suggestion is that the devil’s wife is crying. I know if I was the devil’s wife it would be raining 24/7.
Another saying we grew up hearing from my mamma was “My nose itches, I smell peaches, someone’s coming with a hole in the seat of their britches.” This saying always worked because my brother would come home with holy jeans and mending for her to do. I’m not sure about smelling the peaches, but it certainly rhymes.
When her ears burned she would say, “Someone’s talking about me.” Now my ears hardly ever burn, so I guess others don’t care to talk about me, which is fine with me. I’d certainly hate to be as famous as Charlie Sheen if this were true because the few times my ears have burned it was really uncomfortable.
Knock on Wood?
Members of my family also cross our fingers and we knock on wood, usually knocking on our own head, when we want good luck. The practice of knocking on wood comes from ancient Greek, pagan, Christian, Jewish, and many other cultures, where someone “knocks on wood” to avoid tempting fate or to continue with good luck. Crossing fingers is a way to ward off evil by making a sign of the cross with our fingers.
All of these gestures and sayings were part of my growing up, but I never really believed that any of these tricks would help or hurt. They certainly added to the richness of my years growing up and gave me a connection to my past through the stories told by my Mamma.
So, did I come into money after my palm itched? Not yet, but I’ll cross my fingers and knock on wood and who knows, it might still happen.