A New Take on an Old Tradition


Eating on New Year’s Day in the Deep South usually includes greens and black-eyed peas, the usual fare that is supposed to bring luck from the peas and wealth and prosperity from the gold and green of the cornbread and greens, whether they are collards, turnip greens, kale, mustard greens, or a combination of all of them. But the last year has been hard… and with the state of politics and rights of many Americans in question, I think we need to focus on even more well wishes for the new year.

The picture above shows the meal I cooked today. I kept the tradition of the peas cooked with a new dime, collard greens, and cornbread. Something I read recently said the more pork you eat on New Year’s Day, the fatter your wallet during the year, so I seasoned the peas with hog jowl, the greens with bacon, and served ham steak! We’ll see if my wallet gets fatter, or only me.

We all know money can’t buy happiness, although it can afford one the time and peace of mind to pursue other avenues of interest and concern. So I’m taking the food wishes a bit further…

Sweet potatoes, or sweet potato pies in this case, wish everyone sweetness and love in matters of faith, family, friends, and those of the heart. Take time to savor the sweetness of time spent with loved ones, pursuing ideas and passions, and good books read, good music listened to, and good movies watched and discussed. A toast of champagne to the New Year represents fun and laughter, and taking time to enjoy the moments of our lives… welcoming the giggles that bubble up as we relish happiness!

I think we need these two new components to wish ourselves luck and prosperity! I fear the coming year(s) will be hard for most of us. We are going to have to try harder to ensure that everybody has the chance to dream and to prosper, to set goals and to achieve, to have faith and to believe. We can’t step down, we can’t step aside, we can’t give in, and we can’t give up. We can not hang our heads in defeat: We need to keep striving for equity, equality, and goodness for all.

I am committed to trying harder this year: I think it will take resolve and promise to stand for our beliefs and stand up for those who may need our voices and our actions in the coming months. I’m trying harder, starting today. I’m trying harder by wishing the best to all, so that this time next year, we will be celebrating our courage, our perseverance, our compassion in inclusion of all… with the hope that those toasts can be: “To us: The winners!”


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