Let me tell you about my Lucky Rock, and why it isn’t so lucky anymore.

I was living in England in 1971, working on a master’s degree in English literature at Birmingham University.

One day, while bicycling the 20-some miles between Birmingham and Stratford-upon-Avon, just as a fun day-trip, I rested and had a bite to eat by the side of the road. I happened to spot a small rock on the ground, near the spot where I was sitting, and it struck my fancy. I decided to keep it.

It was lozenge-shaped, smooth, unblemished, perfect in form, and the color of honey.

I carried that rock in my change pocket every day for at least the next 10 years. Then, perhaps worried that it might get nicked or discolored by loose change or keys or whatever else might be in my pocket, I stopped carrying it at all times. But I still would take it along on trips or other special occasions. Hey, it was my Lucky Rock!

This went on for at least another 10 years.

I actually lost the rock, briefly, on two occasions. Once it fell out of my pocket and onto the floor under a table at a restaurant. I called the next day and, sure enough, a sharp-eyed waiter had spotted it, recognized that it was something special, and it was waiting at the checkout counter for me to pick up. Whew!

The other time, I accidentally left it behind, along with pocket change, on a nightstand in a motel room. I was hundreds of miles away before I noticed it was missing. I called and, sure enough, a sharp-eyed maid had discovered it, recognized that it was something special, and turned it in at the front desk. The proprietor was kind enough to pack it up and mail it home to me. Whew!

Because of these scares, I stopped carrying it at all. I put it away in a safe place. I didn’t want to risk losing it again.

Trouble is, I think you actually must carry a charm around with you, if you want it to work its magic. How can you expect to enjoy the benefits of a Lucky Rock if you don’t have the Lucky Rock with you?

And, come to think of it, my luck hasn’t  been what it used to be. For about two decades now. Hmm …

It’s been almost exactly 40 years since I found my Lucky Rock. Maybe it’s high time to start carrying it again.