My dad was superstitious and he took it seriously, especially when it came to black cats and walking under ladders.
If a black cat crossed the road in front of the car, he stopped, turned the vehicle around and went the other way. It didn’t matter where he was, where he was going or if he was early or late, he hit the brakes and went a different way.
One black cat experience that comes to mind happened in July 2003. My folks made the trip from Oklahoma to visit me in Iowa. We decided to tour the northeast part of the state, mainly so my mom could visit the Laura Engalls Wilder home and museum in Burr Oak. We also visited the Bily Clocks Museum in Spillville and the World’s Smallest Church in Festina.
The trip also led us into Minnesota with a stop at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and the Spam Museum in Austin. We also ate at a Culvers for the first time. I do enjoy Culvers.
Somehow, we got off course and ended up taking the backroads to Rochester. We came up on an Amish man cutting hay with a team of horses pulling an antique thresher. My dad loved the old way of farming, so we stopped to watch the man at work, but he got off the thresher and acted as if he was fixing something.
If you know anything about the Amish, they don’t take kindly to having their photo taken. The Amish see it as a violation of the Second Commandment, which prohibits the making of “graven images.” This young Amish man knew that and found solace hunkered down by the thresher until all was clear.
We watched for awhile and as we got ready to leave, a black cat crossed the road in front of our van, and my dad saw the critter.
“Aren’t you going to turn around, son?” my dad asked.
“No,” I answered, thinking this is nuts.
“You have to or bad luck will happen,” he said.
So, there we were in the middle of nowhere Minnesota and a black cat just walked in front of the van. At the urging of my dad, I turned the van around and took a different road.
Somehow we made to Rochester and found the Mayo Clinic. It was later in the day. The building was closed, so we didn’t get to go inside, but I did stop and take some photos of Mom in front of the Mayo Clinic sign.
I wanted to visit the Mayo Clinic because in 1948, when she was 12, she became ill and missed an entire year of school.
Back in those days, my grandparents were poor and didn’t own a vehicle. They did have a tractor and my grandpa would make a bed for my mom on the plow and carry her to town to see the doctor.
She wasn’t getting any better and on this one particular visit, my mom told me that the doctor told my grandparents that he was going to try one thing, and if she didn’t improve, he wanted to take her to the Mayo Clinic. My mom said my grandparents told the doctor that they couldn’t afford that. He told them that he would cover the bill.
Mom’s doctor gave her a shot penicillin and it healed her. I don’t recall what caused the ailment, but the penicillin saved her life and a trip to the Mayo Clinic.
Another time, I had returned to Oklahoma to see the family. It was sometime in the late 1990s after I had moved to Iowa.
My brother, Tom, was in the hospital in Tulsa for some issues with his stomach. Dad and I drove to the hospital to see Tom and when we pulled into the parking lot, a black cat went strolling past.
We went into the hospital and found a seat in the waiting room. We hadn’t been there too long when my dad got up and said, “I’ll be back.”
I waited there as he headed outdoors.
He had been gone for quite a while and I got to wondering about him. I stepped outside and looked around the parking lot for him. It was a Saturday afternoon and there weren’t too many cars in the parking lot.
Suddenly, he came out of the bushes on the other side of the parking lot headed for the hospital door.
“What the heck is going on,” I’m thinking to myself.
He had gone looking for that black cat, telling me he wanted to make sure it didn’t come around there again.
Those are fun memories that I will never forget. I hope you are making family memories, too!
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day and always.
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