Luck is a fickle friend. It makes no guarantees, and it comes and goes with no warning. It seems, however, that luck has been good to Kansas City in the past year. We’re now the proud owners of a World Series championship trophy and a new streetcar system, and the city appears to be growing and developing wherever you look. And with the advent of St. Patrick’s Day and the amount of green beer that will be consumed — well, let’s just say we hope that a lot of Kansas Citians will be getting lucky on a personal level as well.
But how to harness that luck? We looked to our local luck experts for some tips, and we came up with everything from hoodoo to bamboo. We can’t give you the luck of the Irish, but we can show you where to find the luck of the Kansas Citian.
Everyone knows that for some quick luck in Kansas City, you can go toss a few coins in the fountains on the Country Club Plaza. There’s also a statue of a boar, Porcellino (“piglet” in Italian), at 47th Street and Wornall Road, the rub of whose snout is said to bring some luck to those willing to endure the public embarrassment.
But how long does that kind of luck last, really? What’s the statute of limitations on a coin toss or a snout rub? For something a little more enduring, pick up a stalk or two of lucky bamboo at Dutch Flowers, 400 Grand Blvd., in the River Market.
Lucky Bamboo, also known as Dracaena sanderiana, is a low-maintenance plant that, in feng shui, is said to bring balance into its owner’s life.
Tori Graskemper, who works at Dutch Flowers, arranges the stalks in groups of three, with one tall and two straight stalks. “It’s kind of an equal balance thing.”
Graskemper says she gifted the prosperous plant to a friend six months ago.
“Her mother passed away, and so I gave her some lucky bamboo just to kind of have something to nurture and take care of,” Graskemper said. “Her job has prospered, and she got offered a store manager position within that time.”
Sounds good to us.
Tips from a conjure woman
Luck, to Julie Valdivia, is a concept that goes beyond happening upon a four-leaf clover or caring for some bamboo — way, way beyond. Valdivia is the owner of K.C. Conjure Shop, 620 Locust St., Suite 400, in the Crossroads. Its premise is the practice of Southern folk magic — otherwise known as root work, or hoodoo.
For a general, nonspecific stroke of good tidings, she suggests Van Van oil, a New Orleans-style oil that is said to break away any bad things that might be around you to invite positive things in.
The best practice, though, is to be very specific about what you want to be lucky in and how you want that luck to come to you. She frequently hears requests for luck bringing in more money. There are multiple hoodoo procedures for that. For example, one could pray over a candle atop a petition, or a written desire, and dress it with shredded money and cinnamon.
But you must be very detailed about how you want that money to come to you, says Valdivia. “Do you want your momma to die and to inherit her house?” she asks. “Because if you’re just throwing it out there and you don’t care how you get your money — you just need it — bad things can happen. So we don’t want to do that. We want to be very specific. Where’s that money going to come from?”
She asks practical questions of those in search of money. If someone is asking her to concoct a mixture of herbs and pray for them to receive a new job, she questions whether they’re submitting resumes.
“That’s why we call it work,” she says. “We’re working together. You’re out there looking while I’m praying for you to make it happen, to get that job.”
Valdivia has on-the-go solutions for luck as well. She packs mojo bags, small satchels with personalized herbs for drawing in whatever the customer is requesting, be that love, money or other good things. These work best, she says, when they’re personalized with fingernail clippings or snippets of hair. She recommends that women carry them inside bras or clipped to underwear, always against the skin.
There are also oils that can be worn alone. These come in small, perfume-like bottles with novice-friendly titles. “Lover’s Attraction” brings luck to draw in a lover, and “Take Your Panties Off” is for when someone is trying to get especially lucky. Like Valdivia says, luck is all in the specifics.
The Royals’ 2015 World Series championship victory can’t be entirely credited to Sluggerrr. After all, he’s been around since 1996, and this is the first year his presence has been associated with such a triumph. Even so, the loveable lion certainly didn’t hurt the team.
Sluggerrr took a break from his preseason preparation (or whatever he does to ready himself for hotdog-throwing and tail-shaking) to chat with Ink by email (he doesn’t talk because he’s a lion) about his St. Patrick’s Day plans and his take on luck. Stay away from him on the holiday, though, unless you’re wearing green — he may not bite, but he’ll certainly pinch.
Q: How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?
A: By being the grand marshal in the Brookside St. Patrick’s Day Parade!
Q: Any advice for finding luck in KC?
A: Luck is usually found by those who work hard and never give up. Also, finding a four-leaf clover couldn’t hurt.
Q: Do you have any good luck charms?
A: I don’t have any charms, but I do have pregame rituals on the field that I’m superstitious about doing every game. If you ever watch me during pregame, you’ll catch on pretty quick.
Q: Do you consider yourself a good luck charm for the Royals?
A: Absolutely. I charm people all the time.
Q: What can fans do to give the Royals extra luck?
A: Whatever they did last year, do it again in 2016, please!
Q: What, if anything, will you be drinking on St. Patrick’s Day?
A: Water and Gatorade
Q: What’s the luckiest thing that’s ever happened to you?
A: I was hired by the Royals to entertain baseball fans for a living. I’m the luckiest lion in the world.
Q: Do you pinch people if they aren’t wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day?
A: Good question, I’ll pinch you if you’re not wearing green and if you’re wearing another MLB teams clothes, I’ll dump a bucket of water on you …