I remember the day pretty clearly. I was about 7 years old, riding my bike down the sidewalk from my house to my friend Johnny’s house, who lived at the far end of our street. As I was riding, I looked at the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the street. While moving at a pretty good speed, I swear that I saw a 4-leaf clover. I was still on my bike, so I stopped went back to the spot, threw myself down in the clover patch and started combing through clovers in my search.
I think back today of the confidence with which I plunged myself into that clover patch. I saw the 4-leaf clover. I was absolutely sure of it. I was as sure of it as of anything I had ever been at that point in my life. I have no idea how long I searched that little clover patch. I know it was a while. It’s funny because I never remember myself as being particularly patient. I don’t think anyone would have used that word to ever describe me. But there I sat, searching through the clover patch because I was sure I had seen a 4-leaf clover.
How could I have? Does the human eye have the ability to see that kind of detail from a moving bike? That’s the great thing about kids. They don’t know the limitations of the physical world yet, they just believe what they believe. Or in this case, what they think they saw. I was sure I saw a 4-leaf clover. I don’t even remember how big a deal a 4-leaf clover was to me at that age, but somehow, I knew that it was a good thing to find one. I knew it was a big enough deal that I spent my playtime on the ground looking for one instead of going down the street to my friend’s house.
I had some idea of a 4-leaf clover representing luck. I had been told that I was named around some Irish folklore for luck, and I vaguely remember my mom telling me that I had always been lucky. Looking back now, I realize that I may not know the entire story of my birth. I know I was premature and had to have a complete blood transfusion due to jaundice. It was 1968, the procedure was a lot more delicate than it is today. But obviously, I survived to grow into whatever I am today.
So there I sat, on my knees, spreading out the clovers in front of me in my neighbor’s yard. And buried amongst all the other thousands of clovers, there was the 4-leaf clover that I had seen. I want to say it took me somewhere around 15 minutes to find it, but it could have been 1 minute. Again, I wasn’t a very patient child, but I do remember looking for a decent amount of time until I found the clover. I plucked it and took it home to my mom, who put it in the family bible. I remember her being shocked at me finding one, and how I claimed to have seen it from my bike while riding by. I don’t remember anything she said that day, but I’m sure there was something again about me being lucky. Looking back, it has been true, I have been lucky. In many areas of my life, I’ve been what I can only say has been lucky. And the saying about luck favoring the prepared has nothing to do with a 7-year-old boy finding a 4-leaf clover from his speeding bike. But such has been the luck in my life. It’s been ancillary. Unimportant. I’m lucky at finding parking spots, not winning things, As a matter of fact, I haven’t ever won anything of significance.
But on that day, I knew I saw a single four-leafed clover, and I followed my belief and stuck with it until I found it in the clover patch. I’ve treated most things in my life with that type of naive faith, and so far, it’s turned out pretty well.
I live my life with a belief in luck. It’s almost a superstition in my family, but that belief that we are lucky permeates my life and makes me lucky. So am I lucky, or am I just lucky because I think I am? I’m not sure, and I try not to provoke whatever it is that feeds me luck. I’ll even argue with my best friend over the whole concept of luck, him not believing, me living proof.
What else could it be? It sure wasn’t talent or skill.
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