Know your balls in North Carolina
September 19, 2007 | Military,North Carolina,Souvenirs,Vacation
When we vacationed in North Carolina last month, I drove into town and spent an afternoon shopping for souvenirs and chatting. Well, I did more chatting than shopping, but that was the fun part. I stopped in a shop on Main Street. Its shelves were filled with ceramics, wooden sculptures, glass work and various local artwork. A boy of about 15 greeted me from behind the counter. I told him I was looking for souvenirs made by local artists. He walked around with me. I held something up, turned it this way and that, and he told tell me who made it and where they lived. I swear he said, “Yes, ma’am,” at least 152 times.
We talked about the weather. They were having a heat wave that week. He apologized for the heat. He got me a map and gave me directions to one of the roadside shops that sell gemstones. While we walked around the shop, an older boy passed by without saying a word. As he did, he stepped on the other boy’s foot or shoved him.
“Is that your brother?” I asked.
“Yes, ma’am.” He grinned. (The brother recently joined the Marines and was scheduled to head out soon. I figured he was getting in his last-minute little-brother teasing.)
Then some colorful glass balls caught my eye. I held one up to the light.
“This is nice,” I said.
“It reminds me of a witch’s ball,” I said and told him someone once gave me one that was made in Blowing Rock, N.C., and how pretty it was.
He lowered his voice and leaned closer to me.
“Yes, ma’am, but you might get in trouble if you call it that around here.”
Ah, I get it. It’s a friendship ball. The story goes that a witch’s ball (aka, witch ball) attracts ghosts with its bright colors. The ghost gets sucked into the hole and gets stuck inside.
Just so you know, the next time you’re in North Carolina …
This? A witch’s ball.
This? Not a witch’s ball.