Blowfish, being a yankeeman, did not grow up with this celebration food on his Mama's table. Not on New Year's Day nor any other day either. He has though, become a right devoted convert to this annual tradition. Not surprising for a man who has always been serious about his groceries.
Most New Year's Days we mosey off to an "Open Farm" celebration where the food is Southern classics. Collard greens, black eyed peas, skillet cornbread, roasted pork,or ham, or the entire pig. Gallons of sugary iced tea and every variety of cookies or brownies. (The default thing to bring when you do not know what to bring). These past few years I think Blowfish has stepped up to be the taster of the peas. To see if they are done "just so". Of course, being a yankeeman and Italian, his idea of "done" is "aldente". If he pronounces the black eyed peas "perfect!" then our host knows they need to go another 20 or 30 minutes before calling his guests in from the stables to make it inside for the blessing followed by the buffet table rounds.
Folks from the horsey community come, the churchy folks and neighbors come too. It is always a mixed crowd so there is always someone new to befriend. There's a good opportunity you will meet up with someone you have not seen in a decade or more so usually there is a fun bit of catching up too. Of course the horse folks come in horsey clothes as do the neighbors. But every year, some of the churchy folks come in their church finery and, well they regret it. They especially regret this choice if it is a wet year. These are always, always the folks with children who beg and plead for an opportunity to " ride a horsey down to town". The kids are eager. The parents reluctant. But, if they have had a glass or two of the mulled cider, they loosen up and realize those kids will out grow their church finery before the next Winter arrives so they might as well have some fun.
It is great fun too!
It is a grande present to start the New Year surrounded by the squeals of joy of young children. They do not need to be your own little loves. They can be complete unknowns ... joy is contagious! Most of us parents of horsey kids or the older kids in training lead these newbies around on a lead line trying hard to give 'em a memorable start to the New Year. I don't think we have ever seen anyone try to scare a child. We give them a good time, brag on them a plenty and pass out ribbons to all our "Little Winners". Most years it is difficult to tell who is more excited by this experience, the tots or their parents. Usually, it is the parents. Truth is, first time I saw Mermaid on a pony I cried. Maybe I had a premonition of the coming "Horse Mama Poverty" which is always trumped by "Horse Mama Pride and Joy".
Some years my resolution has been to remember the moments of the day. Folks are not talking politics, or economics, or insurance, or projections, or government controls, or gun laws. They start the New Year making merry, with old or new friends of every generation. Guests wander around the farm patting the horses or sneaking them a sugar cube. Kids chase dogs and play with cats or play hide and seek around all the barns and sheds. Some ladies get buckets to pick up the late falling pecans speaking of favorite recipes. Others stroll the grounds holding the hand of a spouse they have not noticed in a week of busyness. In the best years the sun shines, it isn't too cold and the birds sing out glad tidings.
My most favorite New Year's was the year I found the birds nest. Half way between the wash racks and the feed shed. It must have just fallen. It was perfect. A work of incredible art. Constructed entirely from long black horse hairs from a mane or tail. From Mermaid's horse. Her "twin of another species" who was "the most beautiful pony in all the kingdoms". I was certain this miracle of the nest was a message for me. Not just because I was mother to these "twins" but also because designing " nests" for people is my mission.
It resonates with me always, but most especially every New Year's Day.
Honor thy Father.
Love thy neighbor
Share your joy
Celebrate the presents of life
Happy New Year!
Blessings on you all!