When my good friend David put out a call for guest posts for his blog, I was happy to volunteer a post (so long as I could recycle an old one because, as all my friends and relations know, I’m lazy). I asked David if he had any particular theme in mind (so I could quickly sift through all my old posts because, actually, I’m super lazy), and he expressed an interest in something “…where the normal moves into that gray area of paranormal.”
I’m all about the abnormal. Uh, I mean, paranormal. Well, supernatural is my preferred term, but you catch my drift. So I thought I’d dredge up something I’d already recycled but, hey, I really dig this one and it’s got an adorable pic of me from when I was a baby, so win-win!
Thus, here’s a snippet from an older blog post of mine titled Shooting at the Devil. (You can see how this would be about me as a baby, naturally.) I opened the post referencing Penelope Crowe's post about possession (a thoroughly creepy, and terribly sad, read), then segued into my Great Uncle, Tio Nuno (TEE-oo NOO-noo)* who was rumored to be a witch/mystic/alcoholic (may God rest him and hold him close), who proposed a curious cure for whatever ailed me when my parents took my baby-self on a visit to their homeland, Portugal. If you'd like to read the full (long!) post, you can check it out here.
Mom and Pop brought me over from the States when I was a wee one so the family could meet their first born. Apparently, I gave them a bit of trouble - I stayed up crying the first nights they were in Portugal, growing cold and clammy from getting so worked up. Nothing they tried soothed me. I hadn't been colicky or anything up till then, so there was no reason they could discern for my fussing. They took me to a local doc who assured them that I was medically fine. So my Mom put it down to me feeling out of sorts from being in an unfamiliar environment. Or, you know, the evil eye (I dig that she didn't rule anything out). Shortly after the doc visit, Tio Nuno stopped by my paternal grandmother's house and my Avó told him about my peculiar spells. Because my Grandma's husband had recently passed away, she wondered if he might somehow be "visiting" me and generally freaking me out. Tio Nuno thought there might be a larger problem and asked her if any of my clothes or belongings were lying around. She found something of mine and brought it to him, which he examined carefully. After a while he told her that someone in the family wished me ill, but he wouldn't specify who (the big tease). He gave her the following instructions to pass on to my parents:
- Make the baby a wreath of garlic and sprinkle her with holy water.
- Make a bonfire and toss into it some rosemary, rue, and eucalyptus.
- Pass the baby through the smoke of this fire and pray to some saints (which specific ones is lost in the mists of time).
When my Mom heard all this from my Grandma she nodded politely but privately thought there was no friggin' way she was going to pass me over a bonfire (the Portuguese equivalent of this thought, obviously). Instead, when she went to put me to sleep that night, she laid me on my back and prayed the Apostles Creed over me three times, all the while making the Sign of the Cross over me, asking God to liberate me from whatever ailed me. And, according to her, from then on, I did get better.
I have to admit, I'm disappointed that she didn't try the bonfire thing. Also, I think I'd look pretty smashing in a garlic wreath (kickin' it old-school!). But seriously, I'm proud of my Mom for turning to her faith during this peculiar phase in our lives...I hope I'll always turn to God, in good times and in bad. Still, I'd love to know who hit me with the bad juju, so I could avenge myself (and my parents) by TPing her house.
*Nuno was not his real name, but it is a common - and unique - Portuguese name, for an uncommon man!