The power of talismans

In 1977, the year Star Wars came out, EMI dropped the Sex Pistols and gas cost .65 cents a gallon, I was involved in a religious war.
Actually, I was trying desperately to hold on to one religious talisman. After several failed attempts.
And for as long as I can remember, I’ve needed the comfort and security of a talisman (for this discussion, an amulet, a small object intended to bring good luck and/or protection to its owner).
I had a great one.
See, with first communion, I got a Saint Christopher medal. Sterling silver with a sterling chain. It managed not to lose it for years. Through all the little boy shenanigans I got into.
Then came 1977.
I lost the Saint Christopher medal.
My brother gave me a cross he got from Catholic school (I promptly lost it).
I bought a four-way medal (four saints on a cross) and lost it as it dangled through a metal dock on a lake – as I went to get up).
I bought a simple cross and lost it at the beach, where I took it off so I wouldn’t loose it.
Another cheap Saint Christopher medal (lost it).
It also was in 1977 that I started working at a jewelry store. The place had been on a corner of Main Street since the early 1900s. The new guy bought everything, including all the crud stuffed in the basement.
Whenever there wasn’t engraving work, my job was to go down there and poke around. Sweep. Set out rat poison.
It was dark and dusty space with all of five feet of headroom. Along one wall ran shelves of junk.
I bumped into the shelves most every time I went down those creaky stairs to the basement. And this time, a medallion hit the concrete and rolled into the darkness.
It came from a repair envelope from 1919.
It was a beautiful sterling silver Saint Christopher medal that had gone black with tarnish.
I was allowed to keep it.
It is around my neck right now.
And since 1977, it has been off my body less that 20 times.
(My last knee surgery, in 2002, I wasn’t allowed to wear it; I tucked it into my shoe and as I began to awake from the haze of the anesthesia, it’s the first thing I asked for.)
It is my most powerful talisman, and has kept me from harm a few times.
I have had several talismans throughout the years.
For several years, I carried a Lira given to me by a friend, Joe. Joe and I had breakfast together in Dallas at this great little diner. Joe was a Vietnam Vet, a Navy SEAL. He carried the Lira coin through two tours in Southeast Asia.
He gave it to me, he said, because I was in need of its magic.
It was magic.
Joe died a couple of years ago. I now keep the Lira safe in a drawer. I take it out, every so often, and rub the worn surface. I keep it polished.
I now carry two on my person.
My Saint Christopher medal, which I would say is my most cherished possession.
And a little coin the good doctor gave me.
The coin of Kallipolis. The name of Plato’s perfect republic. The coin is designed to represent the mind/brain as described in Plato’s writings.
The good doctor gave it to me, as he does to his patients, when we are ready to face the world with wisdom and dignity.
And a little talisman or two, for luck.

3 comments:

Hilda said...

Nice piece. I would call this "Chapter One." ;-)

Truth in the Trees said...

I need to get your bracelet fixed...

starsgoblue said...

I have a little box of things I keep hidden that I must have or know that I have. They are my luck and one happens to be the cross I wore when I received my first communion too many years ago to mention.