The only way I could get absolute safety was to hide behind closed doors and breathe no deeper than was absolutely necessary.
"It's almost noon and you haven't moved from bed," my wife said. "Get a life and never mind this omen. They're probably hundreds of them buried inside the fortune cookies."
At Christmas, we were gathered around the holiday table and out came the Armenian coffee cups for yet another go-around with my mother.
All the virtues were explored over the next hour — those of faith, hope and charity. Each cup showed its telltale contents.
An unwed niece bubbled over with enthusiasm when she learned there would be a man in her future. A married woman was told each of her children was destined for a successful career.
I asked my mother how much credibility she placed in these words of wisdom and she released a smirk.
"By predicting a happy life for others, I'm creating a better moment for myself. Believe what you want."
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Photographer and writer Tom Vartabedian is retired from The Haverhill Gazette. He contributes this regular column.