Published Friday, October 05, 2012
My sister and I are Greens. And though we changed our maiden names over a decade ago, we kept one thing – Green luck.
I can remember being a kid and really identifying with the words to the song “Gloom, despair and agony on me,” sung by Buck Owens and Roy Clark on the TV show Hee-Haw. I’m not sure how many times my daddy said, “If it weren’t for bad luck, we’d have no luck at all,” but I believed it.
My sister Christie was rather charmed in her youth. She’d win cake walk after cake walk, door prize after door prize. And me? Well, I was like my daddy – snake bit - his term for unlucky. Today, my sister swears her luck has reversed, which is funny, because I feel the same about mine.
This summer, we took advantage of some frequent flyer miles to visit her and her family in Alaska. They picked us and our gear up at the airport in two cars, and we drove straight to the best pizza parlor in town. Excited about reuniting, we pulled into the parking lot and began chattering away like we haven’t seen each other in, well, years.
After a leisurely meal, I decided to forego a visit to the powder room because I didn’t want to make the men wait. And thank heavens I was so considerate, because as soon as we went outside, we heard the beep, beep, beep of a wrecker. My brother-in-law bolted across the parking lot just in time to see one of his two cars hitched to the back. If you have not guessed by now, we had inadvertently parked in a no-parking zone. Had I powdered my nose, we’d been minus a car and our gear.
“I sat there and watched you get out and go in the restaurant. I was going to tow you then, but I had another call. After I towed this one, I was going to come back and tow the other,” the man with the wrecker said.
My sister paid a fee that was far less than it would have been two minutes later.
“Still have Green luck,” my husband observed. “We’re in trouble with you two together.”
“I say we have ‘could-have-been-worse luck,’” I said.
That luck followed us throughout the trip. For example, we went hiking (more like mountain climbing) the next day up a mountain that overlooks my sister’s neighborhood and Anchorage. In fact, from the top of that mountain, one can even see Mount McKinley. As we breathed the fresh air into our lungs and marveled at how high we were, a fellow hiker appeared and shouted, “You’re going to be mad when you go back down.”
“Excuse me?” we said.
“There are parking tickets on both your cars.”
“Did he climb up here just to tell us that?” I asked, as the man cheerfully continued his ascent.
(My sister’s response has been censored.)
Needless to say, the hike down wasn’t nearly as pleasant. We again inadvertently parked just beyond the “No parking” signs, signs that had only recently been placed.
My sister and I agreed that it was another case of “it-could-have-been-worse luck.” At least they didn’t tow it, we said.
For the rest of our visit, we took the Alaskan road signs very seriously. On our final night, we dined on delicious Alaskan fare and then went for a stroll around Anchorage. Having eaten all the chocolate I intended to bring back as souvenirs, I insisted on restocking at a local store. That chocolate ended up costing us $60. Yes, we were five minutes late to our two-hour parking, and we paid for.
“I’m tired of could-have-been-worse-luck,” my sister said, a bit discouraged and sad that we were leaving.
“Do you know what I think?” I said. “If you are lucky enough to spend the week with your sister and her family, then you’re lucky enough. And, if you’re lucky enough to spend a week with them in Alaska, well, then you’re aren’t lucky at all; you’re blessed.”