Habits of Being


Closing the door on the dryer, happy to be finishing the last household chore in time to watch slivers of afternoon sunlight ride up over the east-banked clouds, I thought about the turning of the year and what an unusual day it had been.   New Year’s traditions once considered  inviolable had been forgotten or set aside. No one watched the Rose Parade, or football.  Generally weary of houseguests, bored by corporate socializing and constant activity, no friends gathered for barbeque or buffet, preferring to stay home with their leftovers. My own visiting kinfolk were on their way toward home. With no obligations for the evening, supper, I thought, could be a bit of that nice chicken casserole…

Until I remembered.  It was New Year’s Day and I hadn’t eaten a single black-eyed pea.  Walking into the kitchen, I opened the pantry and surveyed my stash. Corn. Butternut squash soup. Fire-roasted tomatoes. Oats. Cannellini. Sour cherries in brilliant ruby syrup. Coffee. Kidney beans. But not a single can of black-eyed peas. For 35 years I’d eaten black-eyed peas for luck on New Year’s – first because new Texas neighbors put them on my plate and insisted, later because of habit, eventually by compulsion.  This year I’d had none, the cupboard was bare and even the small bag of fresh peas I’d tucked into the freezer was gone, consumed as part of an unremarkable and forgotten meal. (more…)

Published in: on January 7, 2010 at 10:37 pm  Comments (24)  
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