THE FOUR-LEAF CLOVER
In 1995 i went to the Goodwill to scout for bargains. I found a 1935 gospel
song book with a dramatic art deco cover to send to Garrison Keillor as a
gift, and as i was paying the 25 cent price for this little gem, the clerk,
a big, blowsy blonde in her late 30s, noticed the four-leaf clover in my open
wallet, in the plastic-covered window where people who drive display
their driver's licences.
"Oh, wow!" she gushed. "Look at that! Is that real?"
I smiled and told her that it was.
That's when i realized that for folks who live in town, four-leaf clovers are a
real rarity, rare beyond what they are for the rest of us. I have a couple of
patches on my "lawn" (well, it's a green area, so i call it a lawn) where
four-leaf clovers occur with much higher frequency than elsewhere. It's gotta be
a genetic variation, like multi-toed cats and six-fingered humans.
When little kids visit, they like to search for four-leaf clovers. A few grown-ups
do too. They've got to have sharp eyes to find them. Sharper than mine, anyway.
Personally, i have only found one four-leaf clover on this property, and one a
long time ago, in Santa Monica, when i was about eight years old. Sometimes the
kids find so many four-leaf clovers on my place that they give me one or two. I
press them in books and carry them around with me until they wear out. The one in
my wallet was found and presented to me by a visiting friend. Second hand luck.
The four-leaf clover is among the commonest of North American lucky emblems and
is an especially frequent image on good luck
coins, and good luck postcards. Here are some other LUCKY W pages
on which four-leaf clovers appear.
four-leaf clover on American wish box
four-leaf clover on "The Case of the Lucky Legs"
four-leaf clover on Double Luck Foods label
four-leaf clover on good luck coins
four-leaf clover on a "Good Luck" postcard
four-leaf clover on a "Lucky Pig" postcard
four-leaf clover on hoodoo candles
four-leaf clover on Lucky Mon-Gol Curio Number XI
four-leaf clover on Mexican package amulet
four-leaf clover on Hungarian New Year's postcard with chimney sweep
Do you carry four-leaf clovers or press them in books? If so, why? Do you
attribute any specific type of luckiness (like health, money, or love) to them?
Do you remember when four-leaf clovers used to be encased in plastic and
sold as key chain fobs? I haven't seen one of those in years. In 1996, i
bought this laminated four-leaf clover wallet card at an occult supply store called
Anicent Ways, but what with the badly kerned
Souvenir type font and the clash between the actual clover-leaf and the artwork,
it doesn't do too much for me. The clover is a lot smaller than the ones growing
on my lawn, too.
Where do all the four-leaf clovers used in commerce come from, anyway? Does
someone grow big patches of the mutant plants in Iowa, selecting and improving
the strain until every branch bears a four-leaf sport? Or are the plants now being
cloned from one venerable mother-plant in Florida whose root-crown is carefully divided
every few years to increase the stock?
Did the same company that made four-leaf clover key chain fobs also make those
mustard seed key chain fobs for Christians? Are mustard seed key chain fobs still
manufactured? Do Christians still carry them? Do they do so for luck...or for
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