12 August, 2008

Vultures Eyes, Lucky Nuts

My two children have come and gone again in a whisper of time.

My son was in Montreal for ten days: to keep his grandmother company after the death of her brother and to help my brother and sister in various practical ways. He came home from Montreal yesterday, four hours late and with no luggage. He had a shower. I made him a meal. He packed another suitcase with what clothes were left in his cupboard. Then he went off kayaking with his father and sister on the Poland Ukraine border.

My daughter arrived back four days ago from a two-week trip with friends to Gran Canary. Tonight she went off with another friend and her family to the west coast of France. Last year she had trepidation to travel to Montreal alone with her brother. One year later, she has become fully a teenager and revels in her independence. It is exceptional. It heart-breaking.

I tell you that I am proud of their self-reliance and trust in living life’s adventures. I am also not doing too well at showing this pride gracefully. There is a Squirming Wailer in me that takes an effort to dampened down and doesn’t let that stalwart matriarch shine, as she deserves to shine. This is unfortunate, since, when it comes to a joy of travel and an ease of preparation, my children take after me, which is actually something to rejoice. For those of you who know my husband, you know what I mean.

There were two separate instances yesterday and today, when my son and daughter were doing their packing (on their own), they came into the living room, and when I asked them how they were doing, they each answered, “Nearly finished. I just need the lucky nuts.” My heart tripped each time. For, they were referring to a custom I’ve practiced for the last thirty years or so.

After storms, on the beaches of Grenada, it is possible to find a nut that is locally called Lucky Nut, Vulture’s Eye (the brown speckled variety), or Donkey’s Eye (the grey variety). This nut is reputed to bring seven-years of luck when you rub it and make a wish. Every time I walk on a beach in Grenada, I look along the tide line of debris to see if I can find such a nut nested there. The nuts are supposed to float up from the Orinoco River in Venezuela with the tides.

This is all lore from my childhood and yet, it pleases me to place one lucky nut in each piece of luggage whenever we travel anywhere. I infuse each nut with prayers for a safe and pleasant journey. And, mercifully, our travels have been plenty and pleasurable.

The fact that my children wish to carry on this tradition of their own volition, makes me smile tonight, when actually I feel rather melancholy. Safe and pleasant journeys, children of mine.

P.S. This is my 777th post. A Schnapszahl in Germany... lucky number.


  1. I wish them safe travels too, and loads of fun. I can't imagine what it must be like having independent children, sitting here as I do with three little holidaymakers who look to me on a daily basis for ideas on how to make today the best day ever.

  2. Yes, I also wish them safe travels... my heart skips a beat as I muse on how it must feel to watch your children skip out into the world without you.

    You are an amazing Mother and I appreciate your insights and wisdom- now, go get a massage or have a lovely dinner out with friends. You deserve it.

  3. Oh, it is so hard not to worry, so hard to let go. I understand.

    Thanks again for stopping by and leaving me a note.

  4. Wow, 777 posts!

    For my mother packing means weeks of thinking, and planning, and scheming, and then changing her mind at the last minute. She packs about three times the things that I like to travel with.

    I was really relieved when I found out that traveling isn't much different from everyday life and that the same three outfits that I wear everyday work in other places too.

    To me the day that my son will take off on his own seems to be very far away. Good wishes to all of you.

  5. What a wonderful tradition to have carried down. Lovely.