Family Traditions, Or How I Forgot the Black-eyed Peas on New Year

In these days of broken homes and single parent families it’s difficult to maintain family traditions.

I don’t have that excuse.  I’m still married to the same man I started with (47 years but I married young), and my two kids have never been in divorce court either, so how did I manage to break a tradition that goes back generations such as forgetting to buy the black-eyed peas to serve at dinner on New Year’s Day? A senior moment? The fact that I don’t like black-eyed peas and have to make an effort to remember to buy them? The fact my son and daughter eat one or two under protest, and my son-in-law is allergic to them? I don’t know, but whatever the reason, I want to apologize to the fates for my faulty memory.

So what’s all the fuss? For those of who who are unaware of the superstitions surrounding that peculiar legume, which is probably anyone born and raised north of the Mason-Dixon line, let me enlighten you. To have good fortune in the coming year you must eat a helping of black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. If you don’t, then God help you. This is a Southern tradition, and since my husband’s ancestors are from Virginia, Mississippi, and Louisiana, you can understand why his family adheres to this tradition. My mother’s immediate ancestors were from Iowa and Indiana, so I don’t quite understand why she clung to the tradition. My dad was born and raised in Missouri, so maybe that explains his loyalty to such a tradition.

So what happened when I accidentally broke a family tradition? First, a disclaimer. I don’t necessarily believe that my  expensive manicure failed and my nails shed chips of red polish when such a thing had never happened before because I broke a tradition.  I don’t necessarily believe the toilet stopped up in the master bathroom when it had always been reliable before because I broke a tradition. I don’t necessarily equate breaking a tradition with subtraction errors in my checkbook although I hadn’t made such errors for at least two decades.  It does put me in the position of having to rob Peter to pay Paul for the rest of the month, but I shouldn’t worry about that; our government does it all the time.  Then there was my Part D co-pays, a matter only those millions of my peers would understand. It turns out I had no co-pays! Generic drugs that had always been Tier One drugs were suddenly Tier Two and I paid full price because it was a few cents under my Tier Two co-pay. I’m not talking about ONE drug; I’m talking about ALL but one. Then Hannah, my greyhound (mostly) ate my comforter when she hasn’t chewed anything since she ate the great room carpet last year.

That was enough!

I bought a can of black-eyed peas with jalapenos and served them for dinner last night! Not that I necessarily believe in the superstition, but following tradition is a good thing even when you’re late. Isn’t it?

One response to “Family Traditions, Or How I Forgot the Black-eyed Peas on New Year

  1. I grew up with that black-eyed peas tradition too, and this year I broke it just like you did. However, let me reassure you that I haven’t had any dire consequences so far (knock on wood!) When my husband and I lived in South Florida, we learned the tradition of eating 12 grapes on New Years Eve for luck, one each as the clock struck midnight. I guess I’m living dangerously because I didn’t observe that tradition either!

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