Meet Melissa St. Clair: The Luckiest Lady of the Lowcountry
Leprechauns, rainbows, and pots of gold aside, March is a great month to look for a lucky four-leaf clover. After all, who couldn’t use a little extra luck, right?
March is the month when thoughts of St. Patrick’s Day and just about everything green abound. Leprechauns, rainbows, and pots of gold aside, it’s also a great month to look for a lucky four-leaf clover. Afterall, who couldn’t use a little extra luck, right? Yet, finding the elusive four-petaled “cousin” to the shamrock (which legend says St. Patrick used to explain the Christian Trinity) can be a lifelong adventure for some. That is unless your name is Melissa St. Clair.
You see, Melissa has been finding four-leaf clovers all of her life — collecting so many of them she’s managed to fill a number of vessels including a glass jar, a sweetgrass basket, and even the belly of a whale. In fact, it’s not unusual for this eagle-eyed lucky lady to return home from her daily walk to the mailbox or a stroll through the park with not just one four-leaf clover but sometimes even a handful!
Melissa says she considers her “clover plucking luck” to be genetic, passed down from her dad and other lucky ladies in her family. “There’s some definite clover-harvesting history in our family,” she laughs, “beginning with my Great Aunt Eleanor who the family referred to as ‘Hawk-Eye.’” Melissa adds that her cousin Becky also is a great “finder” joking that perhaps the small amount of Irish blood in her family’s veins accounts for their hidden talent.
A native of Whiteford, MD, Melissa grew up on the family farm named “Whiteford’s Desire” where, she says, clover was ripe for the picking. Even her father readily demonstrated his own luck of the pluck. “I can recall my dad getting off the tractor, looking down, and instantly spotting a four-leaf clover. I sometimes found five-, or six-, or even nine-leaf clovers!”
Melissa began honing her own clover hunting skills as a middle-school-aged student, placing her “finds” at that time in wax paper before pressing them inside of books. Attracted to their “pansy-like faces,” she says she loves the delicate, but common plant for all their different sizes and patterns they display. A Celtic symbol, four-leaf clovers were thought to hold magical protection for the finder warding off evil spirits and repelling bad luck. Its four leaves were said to represent faith, hope, love, and luck.
If this is so, then it would seem that Melissa is one of the luckiest ladies in the Lowcountry! A military spouse for almost 30 years, Melissa is married to Matt St. Clair, retired Colonel and former Chief of Staff at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. Arriving in Beaufort in 2016 and living on base when Matt reported to new duties at Parris Island, in 2018 the couple moved just a short distance away to the Celadon Community on Lady’s Island (the irony of living in a community with a name representing the color green seems entirely fitting.)
An entrepreneur and Certified Virtual Expert® who has owned and operated an on-line office support business called Paper Chaser Biz, LLC for 15 years, it’s clear that the qualities of focus, determination, and perseverance have not only led to Melissa’s business success but account for her ability to find more lucky four-leaf clovers than most. In fact, she jokes, her luck almost led to her finding a “pot of gold” last fall when, following a rain shower, the rainbow’s end fell directly over her house. “Unfortunately, I must have been on the wrong end of the rainbow,” she laughs. “No pot of gold was found!”
Still, Melissa considers herself blessed and “lucky in life” and isn’t one for wanting to keep all the luck to herself! She’s more than happy to share her four-leaf clover spying tips. According to Melissa, it doesn’t hurt to sing “I’m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover” which she sometimes does when in serious hunting mode. While staring into a clover patch, she admits that she often has to remind herself to blink. “Having strong perception skills helps, too” she adds, recalling that in high school she scored 99% on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) screening test in perceptual ability.
But anyone can find them, she assures. Before beginning your hunt, she advises, “It’s best if your mind is clear and free of distraction.” Look for clover on sunny days when the light can shine directly upon the clover patch. Be careful that your body does not cast a shadow which makes it more difficult to spot the four leaves. Look for the square patterns the four-leaf clover forms, rather than the triangle shape of a standard three-leaf clover. When really seriously hunting, Melissa recommends crouching down to take a closer look. “But scan only with your eyes and not your hands so as not to disturb the patterns of the patch.”
One last important piece of advice, she says, is not to be disappointed if you don’t find one and offers Benjamin Franklin’s wise words that “Diligence is the mother of good luck.” Sometimes, it’s simply about the thrill of the hunt!
Karen Snyder has pursued her passion for writing for more than 30 years. She has served as a corporate editor to Fortune 500 companies and contributing writer to many regional publications and magazines covering parenting, travel, health, education, and more. She relocated to Beaufort in 2018 and enjoys the Southern lifestyle and the coastal beauty of the Lowcountry.