by: Lee Pitts

I am not a superstitious person. I don't possess a lucky penny, four leaf clover or blessed horseshoe and I don't go out of my way to avoid ladders, broken mirrors or cracks in the concrete. I don't believe a black cat can do me any more harm than a white cat can, nor do I avoid traveling on Friday the 13th. There is no pot of gold waiting for me at the end of any rainbow. I don't think wearing garlic protects you from vampires. Which I also don't believe in.

Knock on wood.

You will not find a rabbit's foot in my pocket either. Years ago I had a sizable rabbit FFA project and I usually had on hand more than 300 rabbits. This is really no great accomplishment. Start with two and inside a couple years you'll easily have that many. Owning 300 rabbits meant I had 1,200 rabbit's feet, if my math is correct, and I don't remember those years as being particularly lucky. I still got the short end of every wishbone.

I don't believe that witch doctors are any better or worse than my doctor, although I'm sure mine charges more. And I learned the hard way that washing your car or truck will NOT bring rain. I endured two seven year droughts in the cow business and I washed our truck until bare metal showed and it still wouldn't rain. All I got was dishpan hands and the experience necessary to get a job at the car wash. In washing my rig I was foolish to think that anything man can do might change the climate. (There's a moral there for global warming fanatics who think cow flatulence will rein down Armageddon.)

While I don't believe in superstitions I do believe in luck, which is something altogether different. I believe that some people are just luckier than others, like a billionaire married to a Sports Illustrated supermodel. I also believe that frogs cause warts and in the rule of threes, which says that good or bad events always happen in groups of threes.

My friend Chuck Irwin is one of the best bit and spur makers in America and the 91 year old cowman has enriched my life in many ways. Just last week he was in my shop and even though he works with silver, the subject somehow got around to gold. He told me that years ago he had a friend who had dozens of gold coins that he kept in coin collection books. Chuck explained to his friend that he'd always wanted a gold coin and much to his surprise Chuck's friend sold him one for seven dollars. WAY below its value. Chuck wondered at the time why his friend sold the coin so cheap but he was about to find out why.

Fast forward several years and Chuck showed the coin to a really good customer who went crazy over the coin and clearly coveted it. So Chuck gave it to him. Chuck couldn't explain why he'd given away the coin he'd wanted so badly. It reminded me of the Mark Twain short story in which a man traded all his possessions for a dog and then shot the dog.

Within a short time the man who Chuck gave the coin to died for no apparent reason and Chuck was bequeathed the coin in his will. Next, Chuck made a beautiful bezel for the coin and gave it to his wife. Sadly, soon after she died. At this point Chuck got spooked and began to think the coin had special powers and that was how he was able to buy the coin so reasonably to begin with. Everyone he'd given it to had died soon thereafter. So naturally, Chuck next gave the coin to an ex-girlfriend.

As we speak, Chuck's ex-girlfriend is alive and well and that seven dollar coin dangling around her neck is now worth many thousands of dollars. Needless to say, Chuck wished he still owned the coin. But the third time's a charm and Chuck figures if that's what it took to break the spell of the unlucky coin, then so be it. But he harbors no suspicion that he'll ever get it back.

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