Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year Prosperity

     We live in the South, where prosperity in the new year begins with a pea. Black eyed peas to be sure. Often served with rice, called "Hoppin' Jon" by some, enjoyed by all.

 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!


Sharon Rudd said...

Oh, Fishy, what a delightful post! That “Open Farm” day sounds like just what everyone needs to kick off the new year right. Wishing you a grand 2013! xoxo, eggy

Buzz Kill said...

That's cool that you have something like the open farm to do on New Year's Day. Here, we have the Mummers. Going into Philly on a cold day and watching a bunch of drunks play banjos - with a bunch of drunks on the curb - is not my idea of a good time.

I did like the horsehair bird's nest story. Happy New year to all the fish in the pond.

Aunty Belle said...

Heh...well Foamy would approve of yore hoppin' john.

Uncle say send him two thangs--a bowl of them vittles an' an invite to next year's Open Farm shindig.

Happy New Year to the Pond Peoples!

fishy said...

Any celebration centered in joy is a good way to start a year! Having good food and a bit of fun... a present!
Blessings on your 2013.

Well I am on your page, the Mummers do not sound like anything I would enjoy. You know if there is not a great family function to attend on New Year's Day you could start one.

Blessings on all you Killers.

Aunty Belle,
Uncle must be feeling fine or he would not be thinking of traveling!
Come on up here, same date every year :-)
Uncle will be able to tell right off if the local collard growers know their stuff.

As a bit of a warning I might just add there is a risk I might snap your picture astride a beautiful steed.

Blessings to you, Uncle and all the various Clan folks and animals.

moi said...

A horsehair bird's nest! What a find! Great story. I wish we had a celebration like that to go to, too. But, as you say, I could always start one . . . I hope 2013 brings you, Blowfish, Mermaid, and all those you hold dear much happiness, health, and prosperity!

chickory said...

What a lovely way to spend New Years! I'm not a big fan of hoppin John. I'm okay with black eyed peas but served with rice it's redundant. Too pastey or something. Peas are good with sautéed kale though. I love you found the nest on year. That's cool.

chickory said...

Happy new year wishing you blowfish and mermaid very happiness this, and very year.

Andrew Jackson said...

As tragic as Sandy Hook was I am tired of talking about it as well. Let's all just move forward. what a great post. Thanks for focusing on what is important!