Sometimes omens not really omens

By Grant McGee

March is here. At the beginning of every March, I always remember that saying, “March comes in like a lion, goes out like a lamb.” Winter storms in the last part of February and first days of March give way to the early days of spring by the end of the month.

My grandmother introduced me to a lot of sayings and signs, mostly about the weather. For instance, if it were a summer’s day and it started to get windy and cloudy, rain was not a certainty to her unless the leaves of the trees were showing their undersides. If it started to rain and you could see the sun she’d say, “A sunshine shower never lasts an hour.”

In the winter, if we had a nice day and the wind started to pick up she’d say, “This ain’t gonna last, there’s cold air pushin’ this warm.”

At grandmother’s dining room table, each utensil I dropped over time meant someone different was coming to visit: a fork meant a woman, a knife meant a man and a spoon meant a kid.

Here in our area I’ve been told any utensil dropped on the floor means somebody’s coming to your house hungry.

There are all kinds of sayings, signs, superstitions and omens. I guess a lot of them deal with hoping for good luck, avoiding bad luck and trying to peer into the future.

The moon is the subject of a few sayings and signs. There was a full moon Christmas Eve 1996, there’ll not be another full moon on Christmas eve until 2102. To me a full moon on Christmas eve surely meant something. There was a ring around it though. I remembered another saying, “Ring around the moon, trouble here soon.” A Christmas eve full moon with a ring around it, surely this was a sign of something big.

Then an owl, a big one with a huge wingspan, flew by the window of my home that night. Oh yeah, something was heading for me. Something actually did, but it wasn’t until a year-and-a-half later: a divorce.

Were the moon and the owl just something neat to experience? Or were they omens marking the beginning of the end to a marriage?

The other day I saw a white dove in a cholla near the old Santa Fe lakebed south of Clovis. I stopped and stared in wonder, then it flew off. White doves are generally accepted to symbolize peace.

However, underground miners don’t want to see one sitting outside the entrance to their mine, because superstition holds that means death waits underground.

Anyway, this was the second white dove in the wild I recall seeing. Was this a sign of something? How long had it been since I saw the last one? I dashed home to write the date and place in my journal and to read when I saw the first one.

The first white dove I’d seen in the wild was by the San Pedro River in southeastern Arizona on May 8, 1996. I thumbed through some of the other entries in my pages after that. Nothing special had happened.

Then I settled back in my chair. I thought about sayings, signs and omens. They can make interesting conversation, but sometimes a white dove in a cholla is just a white dove in a cholla.

Grant McGee hosts the weekday morning show on KTQM-FM in Clovis. Contact him at: