I’ve never been to The South, but on my mother’s side of the family those roots trace back to the 1700s, mainly in Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee and Missouri. Grandma was born in Tennessee and every New Year’s Day fixed Hoppin’ John because Southern tradition says it is lucky to have black eyed peas For New Years.
I never partook of them, because I never really cared for beans or peas when I was younger. In fact one time when I was a toddler I refused to eat my peas. My Dad said I couldn’t get out of my high chair until they were gone. They waited about two hours and he got so frustrated that he dumped them on my head. Don’t judge him, it was a different time and I don’t really remember the incident. It’s just one of those funny stories families like to relate. As my Mom later pointed out, I never ate the peas. There’s probably a reason Dad called me ‘brat-nilla’ when I was growing up.
On January 1, 2011 I decided to make Hoppin’ John. Some good things happened for me last year: finally able to retire—not to lead a lavish lifestyle mind you, but comfortably enough; took a couple trips to visit relatives I’d not seen in a while; met some interesting people; started expanding my creative horizons.
I’m not very superstitious. Black cats and broken mirrors don’t faze me. Triskaidekaphobia? No way! Walking under ladders? Well, some things are just reasonable—safety is involved. Do not walk under ladders. But am I having Hoppin’ John for this New Year’s dinner? You bet!