White Rabbits—Carrying on the Tradition

pexels-photo-786273.jpegEver since I can remember, on the first of every month my mom would always say, “White rabbits, Heather!” And I’d answer back, “White rabbits, Mommy!” It was a fun game of verbal tag just between me and my mom. Sometimes, I would manage to say it before her and feel like I won the game!

I asked my mom how the tradition began. She told me, when she was a child in Scotland, it was her cousin who said, “white rabbits” every month. It wasn’t until I got a wee bit older did I ask her what it actually meant. Why did we go around saying that on the first of every month? There had to be something behind the silly expression, right? There was, but she said it had something to do with superstition and didn’t bother to elaborate. The Scots are known for being superstitious, but my mom never was. So, I decided to find out on my own and ask someone else in the family.

Turns out, the saying actually dates back centuries in Britain. People would say, “white rabbits” upon awaking on the first of the month to ensure good luck for the entire month. Works for me! Considering the way things have been going the last 15 months, I certainly could use all the good luck I can get these days.

Growing up, hearing “white rabbits,” always made me smile. It was something fun I shared with my mom. And I looked forward to the first of every month to see who would be the first to say it.

Even now, on every the first of every month, I’m reminded of our tradition. And while my mom is no longer here (she passed away a year ago), I still find myself saying, “White rabbits, Mom.” If only Emma could speak instead of bark, I’d have her carry on the tradition, too.

White rabbits!

Do you have a fun family tradition or childhood memory that you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about it!

Neil Diamond Says Farewell to Touring

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When I turned on the news this morning, the first thing I heard was legendary singer/songwriter Neil Diamond announced his retirement from touring due to his recent diagnosis of Parkinson’s. I couldn’t believe it. Fans around the world are stunned.

Just last year, I went to see Neil at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The man is a master songwriter and entertainer, who never ceases to disappoint. His show was a trip down memory lane not only for him, but his audience as well. (At least, for me, it was.)

img_6906Thanks to my mom, my earliest childhood memories include Neil Diamond. My mom was a huge fan, and I became one as well. She discovered Neil in the ‘60s with his very first album. She loved that he was a local boy from Brooklyn. More than that, she always said to me, “He’s a poet. He speaks to the soul.”

How right she was. From songs like Cherry, Cherry, Brooklyn Roads and I Am, I Said to You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, Story of My Life and Nothing but a Heartache, Neil always knows how to tug at the heartstrings and reach into your soul to bring back a memory.

img_6895I recall in particular this one year when my dad and I got my mom Neil’s latest album for Christmas. My mom and I would sit in the living room every day and listen to it, along with all his other albums. (This was back in the day of the LP records.) She would sing along, and I would, too, while trying to complete a puzzle of the United States that was spread out on the living room floor, the sun pouring in through the front window. I remember this like it was yesterday. It’s one of my favorite memories of me and my mom.

The first Neil Diamond concert I went to was with my mom at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island. In fact, every concert of his I went to was with my mom—except for last year. She had passed away a few months before, so I went solo to see our favorite singer, to just “be” there with mom, like all the other times. It wasn’t the same without her, but I’m glad I went, now knowing that was the last Neil Diamond concert I would ever see in person.

This morning, after I heard the news, I put on Neil’s music and sang along, just as mom and I did for all those years. Only this time, my eyes burned with tears. Nothing can take away my memories of me and mom and Neil, but nothing will ever be the same again for me. No more attending live concerts, no more singing Sweet Caroline with Mom at Neil’s shows. Thankfully, I have all his music to enjoy for years to come. And, while he has retired from touring, I can look forward to hearing new songs from Neil in the future, as he’s now sticking to writing, recording and pursuing other projects.

Thank you, Neil Diamond, for bringing your poetry into my and my mom’s lives. My childhood wouldn’t have been the same without you.

Okay, now it’s time to pour me some Red Red Wine with a splash of Cracklin’ Rose.

Cheers, Neil!