And the reason for that saying was what?

Recently while sitting with friends enjoying a meal, someone at the table accidentally spilt the salt shaker and immediately tossed some salt over their left shoulder.  As is the usual case while in the company of friends, the question came up – “Does anyone truly know how this tradition came about?  Several theories came to mind:

Back in time, salt was very expensive and if someone spilt salt, the spilt salt was associated with future loss in general. Another version regarding spilt salt was that salt makes the soil barren for a long time and so the spilling of salt is a form of cursing a land.

But the one most people associate the spilling of salt with and why one is to quickly toss a pinch of salt over their left shoulder is because in doing so you are throwing the salt in the face of the Devil who lurks there. Who knew?

While sitting there, we decided to toss around a few other sayings or superstitions. Having just passed St. Patty’s Day, someone asked why is Corned Beef and Cabbage associated with St. Patty’s Day and the Irish?  Fact of the matter is Corned beef and cabbage isn’t even an Irish meal. To learn more of this tale, we have to go back in time and also to New York City. Apparently back in the early days the favorite meal of Irish immigrants in New York City was pork. However with times being as tough as they were back then, not being able to afford pork, the immigrants sought out cheap alternatives. Yup, you guessed it – Corned Beef and Cabbage was the meal they were able to afford. And believe it or not, they found this inexpensive alternative in the delis and lunch carts of their Jewish neighbors. So, in reality, it was our Jewish friends that came up with Corned beef and cabbage and apparently eating this dish took place on St. Patty’s Day when the Irish immigrants would normally have pork.

Let me now switch to one of our favorite meals – that of pork and sauerkraut on New Years’ Day.  I had always thought this was a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition. Our reasons for eating this on New Years’ Day are the same as that found in my research. Supposedly blessings and wealth would come to the family eating this dish and in our case we eat it on New Years’ Day so that we have good luck and prosperity the balance of the New Year.  It has further been said that goodness and money – measured by the number of shreds of cabbage in the pot of Sauerkraut – would also come to the family partaking of this dish on New Years’ Day. As for the pig (pork) – well the pig has long been a symbol for good luck and well-being. So, whether it is a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition or not, we still partake of that meal every New Year’s Day so that blessings, wealth, good luck, and well-being follow us into the New Year.

Let me throw a few more in just for the heck of it. Take the superstition of not having shoes above your head when sleeping – well supposedly doing this will cause misfortune.

And then there is the one about – “Don’t go to bed angry.” Many couples follow this rule mainly because most things being disagreed upon aren’t worth more than a day’s battle. The theory is any arguments that come up during the day should be worked out before one goes to bed or just let it go. Bottom line – if you cannot let it go – at least agree to disagree. One way of possibly resolving the argument is attempt to determine to whom the issue is most important – and then allow that person to win. And whatever the case – don’t hold grudges.

Well, I am running out of words and so I guess I have imparted enough trivial knowledge upon you, my fellow readers. I hope I have entertained you and possibly brought a smile to your face. If I have then I have done my job and if I haven’t, well, all I can do is apologize and say I will attempt to do better next time.

Until next time!


When you gotta go – You gotta go!

As I may or may not have mentioned – we have been on the road, have not had Internet Service and so my posts have been somewhat limited.  This trip was designed to see our latest great-grandson and possibly attend a wedding. Not sure if the wedding will take place during this particular trip as it may have to be postponed for a bit but we did get to see the latest addition to the family and he is cute as a button.

Being the age I am and the fact that I am not getting any younger – I do question however just how long I can make these long road trips. What used to take me two days to get here now takes three days and to be quite honest, wears us both out by the time we arrive. I do all the driving (something I have been doing for quite a few years now) and well, let’s just say there would be no argument on my part were we to find alternative means to visit our northern relatives in years to come.

And speaking about driving – What is it with the driving habits of some of our northern neighbors? Do they not know that the Yield Sign after exiting one road and before getting on another freeway means – “Hey you – slow down – the road you are about to attempt to enter has ongoing traffic and that means “they” not “you” have the right of way – You are the one that is supposed to yield, not them!

That is the part of our recent trip from the south to the north that I dread the most. Many drivers coming off of exit ramps seem to think that their yield sign is an OK for them to speed up and see just how close they can come to ongoing traffic and yet still slip in between the cars already moving at 65 – 70 miles an hour. Very frustrating!

And what is it with fast food, gas stations, and other such facilities up north not being at the exit when exiting from the freeway. So much for seeing food, gas, and lodging signs at the exit signs!  While the sign might indicate that such places can be visited if you exit the freeway, what they do not tell you is that once you exit, the actual location of the Burger King or MacDonald’s could be 2 or more miles after you have exited the highway. What is it with that? When you gotta go – you gotta go!

On a more positive note – we also make it a point to stop at the Welcome Center of each state we enter while on trips. Not only do they provide good information, but they have a wealth of information about their state, can provide maps of the area, and usually have coupon books that have some pretty good discounts for hotels and motels in the area. Such books come in handy if you don’t like to drive too late into the evening and look forward to getting off the road while it is still daylight.  I must admit we have taken advantage of these books many times and for the most part have been extremely satisfied with the hotels/motels we have stopped at.

Our secret is to stop about an hour earlier than we truly need to because then if using one of the motels found in the coupon book and the area doesn’t look safe or satisfactory or if the motel doesn’t look up to our standards – we can just drive on down the road for another hour until we find a more suitable place to rest our head for the evening. Included in this reduced rate many times is a “free” breakfast. Sometimes it is merely a Continental breakfast while other times a hot “buffet” style breakfast is provided.  But let’s face it – having become frugal in our old age, every penny counts.  

Just a few of the tips we have learned over the years that have come in handy while traveling back and forth to see family. After all, keeping the expenses down in one area enables us to spend a bit more in the company of friends and relatives we made the trip to see in the first place.

Until next time!