By Harriet Hart


fortune-tellerThe petite oriental lady grasped my hand and blurted: “You’re a tough little bugger!” I was 30 and visiting my first palm reader. She predicted that I would marry twice, live to be 96, inherit money and live in 14 countries after the age of 55. I’m on my second marriage, left Canada to live in Mexico at 55 and haven’t inherited a bundle of money…yet.

I grew fond of having my fortune told. I raised my hand for palm readers, drank my tea cup dry and turned it over for a scrutiny of the leaves and happily spent money having my Tarot cards read.

Once I longed to know what my future would hold. Would I marry Mr. Right, have children, pursue a successful career, travel, enjoy good health, and live to a ripe old age?

At 65, I no longer seek out soothsayers; instead, I prefer to see my future through a glass darkly: collapsing discs, a dowager’s hump, drooping eyelids, sagging breasts, forgetfulness, and finally The End.

We have our fortunes told when we are facing a fork in the road. After I graduated from college in 1983, I was having trouble finding work. My summer job was ending; I had been interviewed by dozens of agencies, had a file folder full of rejection letters, and was planning a three-week jaunt to Europe with my lover. Dare I skip town without a permanent position to come home to?

Surely the raven haired gypsy from Devon could cast light on my dilemma. She tossed some crystals across a black velvet table cloth and advised: “You will be offered the job you just applied for, but there will be obstacles in your way.”

Two days later I received a call from the woman who had interviewed me.

“I want to offer you the job,” Val said.

“What’s stopping you?”

“All your references have left town. Can you think of someone else?”

“Professor Bates.”

“Clive is an old friend of mine. I’ll give him a call.”

When she phoned back she hesitated. “There’s just one more thing. We don’t want you to start for a month.”

The universe was unfolding as it should. I got the job, the trip and my man.

Once, a fortune teller sought me out. I was living in a small town on the shores of Lake Winnipeg, where my first husband opened a country law practice. Bored, I enrolled in Chinese cooking classes at the local high school where, to my surprise, the instructor suggested she read my palm. “Gordon is not the love of your life,” she announced.

“You already know the person you are meant to be with,” she continued. “You will get together in your mid-thirties.”

Six months later, I reconnected with an old flame, left my marriage, and decided that Destiny had me in her grasp (as did Mr. Right).

In 2000 I paid a visit to Daryl in the back of Blackstone Books.

“Will I stay in Canada after I retire?”

“No…I see mountains and a lake.”

If I look up from my desk there it stands – Mount Garcia, on the shores of Lake Chapala. Is there any better way to make decisions than by consulting a fortune teller? Sceptics claim we only hear what we want to hear and act on the advice we like. So what?

So here’s to the palm readers, the seers using Tarot cards and crystal balls, the truly gifted and the phonies. Anyone know a good oracle here at lakeside? I’ve got 31 more years to fill and thirteen more countries to inhabit if Madame Butterfly was on the mark.

For more information about Lake Chapala visit:

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