When it comes to superstitions I’ve always thought of Jas as a man without. I on the other hand, having grown up with a family that may have written the book on superstitions, follow more than I’d like to admit sometimes almost involuntarily. Jas smirks when I toss salt over my left shoulder after accidentally tipping the shaker, jumps when I screech not to put new shoes on the bed, and as for my refusal to take loved ones to the airport?–that he finds understandably annoying. Though the Bosnian culture is ripe with a myriad of superstitions on everything from coffee drinking to weather predicting, I’ve never heard him express or seen him act on one. Until we went shopping for Halloween.
When we arrived at Party City Jas shot towards the costumes and I headed towards the decorations. Almost immediately I came across an entire shelf lined with ravens and Poe sang in my mind. Perfect, I thought, and plunked one into my basket as Jas rounded the corner wearing a blue afro and an eye-patch.
“What are you supposed to be?” I asked.
“I’m a disco dancer.”
“Well…what happened to your eye?”
“Someone poked it doing the hustle,” he replied while looking into the basket. “Wait,” he said lifting the eye patch, “what the hell is that?”
“Oh! A raven! Isn’t it great?” He looked at me blankly.
“You know, like Poe’s The Raven.”
“‘Once upon a midnight dreary….'”
“‘Quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore’?” I followed.
“It looks like a crow” he said.
“I guess you could call it that. Aren’t they different birds though?” I asked scrutinizing it.
“What’s it for?” Jas asked.
“What do you mean? It’s for Halloween. I’m going to put it on the mantle,” I said excitedly.
“I don’t like it,” he said frowning.
I took another look at it.
“This is the best one,” I said. “I checked all the others on the shelf. This one has the smoothest feathers and the best face.”
“No, no” he said shaking his head. “This…it’s…not a good thing.”
At this point I was totally perplexed. Holiday decorating usually falls under my purview, particularly Halloween as it’s a holiday Jas doesn’t have much use for.
Noting the confusion on my face he continued, “In Bosnia, crows are very bad luck. We can’t bring that into our house. Put it back.”
Later, I’d learn that crows are feared universally throughout the Bosnian hills. Believed to be harbingers of sickness and death, should one land on your house it’s only a matter of time before a loved one is struck down.
“Ok but it’s not a crow it’s a raven” I argued.
“Nice try. Put it back” he said.
“But…but Jas!” I cried. “What about Poe? Nevermore? Lenore!”
“Leave it Ducati” he said walking off, blue afro bouncing.
With much effort, I returned the bird to its perch. Not because I’m the type of woman who falls in line upon her husband’s demands and requests, but because if there’s anything life has taught me it’s that when someone you know walks under ladders, befriends black cats, and opens umbrellas indoors suddenly expresses a superstition, then you listen.
As for my dreams of a raven adorned Halloween mantle? Nevermore.
In the spirit of the season, if you know any superstitions, please post them.