Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's and Black-Eyed Peas

It was New Year's Eve around 11:57 p.m., and I was buried deep beneath the covers. I had gone to bed early after drinking some Jim Beam and E & J Brandy. For a few moments during the night, I thought that I had been transported to a war zone; specifically, Iraq or Afghanistan. All I could hear was gunfire and firecrackers over and over again  from my bedroom window. I figured that my neighbors were ringing in the New Year with revolvers, shotguns, pistols and firecrackers bought from the local convenience store. However, I had to go to the bathroom and was too afraid to walk past a window in fear of being shot by a stray bullet. So, I began to reflect on some past New Year's Day events.
"Eat your black-eyed peas! It will bring you good luck," Mom and Daddy used to chant every New Year's Day while I sat at the kitchen table.
Quietly and deep within the recesses of my mind, I replied, "I don't believe anything I eat on New Year's Day will have any effect on my life for the rest of the year." I then asked, "Do I have to?"
"Yes, you do. Have you been sick this past year?" asked Mom.
"Ummmm, nope," I replied. "But, I'm sure that eating black-eyed peas last year had nothing to with it," I thought." I started to ask, "Are you trying to brainwash or use child psychology on me?" then I thought better of it.
Daddy then said, "Eating black-eyed peas is a time honored tradition on New Year's Day. It will bring you good luck. Eat your greens, too. They will bring you money," he continued.
Looking at Daddy with my mouth agape, I said, "You know what, Daddy? Oh, never mind."
"Go ahead and start eating," Mom commanded.
"May I have some more stewed tomatoes to cover the peas up, please?" I then thought, "They are staring at me, and they taste nasty, too."
"Yes, you can," Mom said.

Later that day, the ringing of the doorbell caught Daddy's attention. He quickly removed himself from the recliner, walked to the front door and peered out the peep hole. Smiling broadly, he opened the door for my maternal grandfather, Papa.

"Hey! Why did you call me over here? I was watching TV," Papa asked as he entered the house.
Daddy replied, "I didn't want anything. I just wanted to make sure  that a man was the first to enter the house for the New Year. It's supposed to be good luck."
Laughing loudly, Papa said, "I did the same thing. William Barbour just left my house a few minutes ago."

Immediately thereafter, a few of Daddy's close male friends rung our doorbell and sat for a long spell. I reckon they were out and about bringing good luck to the entire city for the New Year. Reaching into "the liquor cabinet," Daddy offered each of them a shot of liquor - or so.  Now, that I think about it; they probably wanted to come over anyway for a drink to help ring in the New Year.

Years later, my sister's friend, Michelle, began hosting New Year's Day parties at her home. She cooked a giant pot of black-eyed peas, fried chicken, corn bread, collard greens, stewed tomatoes and a pound cake. After eating, drinking and merriment, Michelle gave all of her guests three dry black-eyed peas wrapped in aluminum foil - for what reason? Good Luck! The three peas represented health, wealth and happiness.

Months later while searching through my wallet, I realized that the wrapped peas were still hidden deep within one of my wallet's hideaways. Suddenly reflecting, I thought that particular year was going amazingly well for me. However, I may have been "brainwashed" into thinking that it was the effects of the black-eyed peas.

So, as time marched on and mentally stuck in the time honored tradition of eating black-eyed peas on New Year's Day; I had resolved to eat only twelve peas - one for each month of the year - covered with lots of stewed tomatoes. Actually, I thought this would be a fair compromise as opposed to trying eat an entire bowl full of peas that seemed to be staring at me. Well, I may have to admit that Mom's child psychology from yesteryear may be finally working on me.

Until next week....Keep praising His name!
and Happy New Year!

Sir Charles

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