One day last week Mim and I walked Floey to the farmhouse, about a mile round trip. One of the 93-year-olds we care for lives there, and Mim needed to see her. Floey and I went along for the walk.
As we were walking across the lawn, my brother’s dog Lucy came running over to greet us. While Mim went into the house, Floey, Lucy, and I walked over to the dog pen behind the garage so that I could take the leash off Floey and the dogs could play. I found a broken tennis ball in the pen and threw it for them to catch a few times. The ball didn’t bounce, so the game got old pretty quick. The dogs seemed content to just chase each other. As I was trying to decide whether to go into the house or stay in the dog pen, I looked down – and there was a four-leaf clover staring up at me.
I used to look for four-leaf clovers on lazy summer afternoons when I was a kid, and occasionally I’d find one, but not very often. I couldn’t believe that one was staring up at me without me spending at least 15 minutes looking for it. I bent down to be sure I was seeing it right. Sure enough, it was a perfect four-leaf clover, and I picked it. I decided it must be my lucky day!
When Mim came out of the house, I showed it to her, and we talked for a while about how hard we used to look for them when we were kids. We walked home, and I showed my lucky treasure to 94-year-old Anna. She laughed and told me stories about how she used to look for four-leaf clovers when she was a kid. Then I showed Carolyn, our 93-year-old resident, and she had the same reaction. That one four-leaf clover that stared up at me in the dog pen had just made four people happy. We were all laughing and remembering our own days of looking for these symbols of good luck.
I decided to google “four-leaf clover” to learn something about why they are considered lucky.
- The tradition of searching lawns for four-leaf clovers is said to have started in the Middle Ages. Children believed that if they carried a four-leaf clover with them, they could see fairies. So first they searched the lawn to find a four-leaf clover, and then they continued searching to find a fairy.
- One legend is that Eve carried a four-leaf clover with her when she left the Garden of Eden. If that’s true, then anyone who finds a four-leaf clover has found a bit of Paradise. I like that legend.
- In early Ireland, the Druids believed they could see evil spirits coming when they carried a Shamrock (three-leaf clover). And, if they could see the evil spirits coming, they could get away fast enough to be safe. Better yet, if they carried a four-leaf clover, they would have magical protection from evil spirits.
- St. Patrick used the Shamrock, a three-leaf clover, to explain the Holy Trinity – one leaf each for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Later Christians added that the fourth leaf symbolizes the Grace of God.
- Another explanation of the symbolism of the clover is that the four leaves represent faith, hope, love, and luck.
- Scientists have calculated the odds of finding a four-leaf clover at 10,000 to 1.
So, was I lucky that day I found the four-leaf clover without even trying?
You bet! That one little clover brought back happy childhood memories to four people. And I bet, even a few more people will be thinking today about the time they found their first four-leaf clover. They might even start singing the novelty song written by Mort Dixon and Harry M. Woods in 1927:
I’m looking over a four leaf clover
that I overlooked before
One leaf is sunshine, the second is rain
Third is the roses that grow in the lane
No need explaining
The one remaining is somebody I adore
I’m looking over a four leaf clover
that I overlooked before…
I wish you the best of luck in finding your next four-leaf clover! Or, in simply remembering how happy you were the last time you found a four-leaf clover.
Ahhh – the laziest and happiest joys of summertime.
Let the season begin!