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REFLECTIONS: Jan 15-We never went hungry

Did you have your BLACK EYED PEAS AND HOG JAW (JOWL) on New Year’s Day? When I was growing up I never heard the word Jowl. Of course I wasn’t as good a friend with Mr. Webster as I am today. It really gets me when I hear someone talk about a large persons jowls. Back to the black eyed peas, this was the first year since I have been cooking that I didn’t cook peas, but I knew that I would eat some before the day had past. My family has a special friend who has open house on New Year’s and serves black eyed peas and cornbread. I usually cook peas at home then go to Ron’s with my two children. This year I thought why do I cook them then go there for more? I guess I have always felt the need to cook peas on New Year’s. I know it is just a myth (or is it?) that eating peas on New Year’s you will not go hungry and will always have money. I know some people believe you must eat a green vegetable so you will always have a little green money. This year I tried this to see if it works. I cooked Brussels sprouts.

The past several days with the temperatures plunging to the single digits I have become aware how blessed I am to live in a good warm house. I have told my family that I never lived in a real good, warm house until we built ours after the tornado. Our house that blew away was warm to an extent. It was not until shortly before the tornado when we added on to our house that we really had a good warm house. When we built our house we never heard of insulation. Maybe I had but we couldn’t afford it as Frank and his Dad built it a board at a time as we could afford it. The only heat we had was an open heater. We all took a bath in a number three wash tub in front of the stove in the living room. But OH! How happy I was to be living in my own house. I guess that was the way it was supposed to be as that was the way it was all my life. Shortly before the tornado we added on to our house, using insulation and installing a floor furnace. We dug a septic tank which made it possible for us to have indoor plumbing. How wonderful it was to be able to take a shower in a good warm room. The most wonderful thing of all was not having to make the cold, cold trip down the path when nature called.

Both of my two children were born the last of November. Of course that meant they were in cloth diapers during the cold months of winter. I washed all the diapers by hand and hung them on the line to dry as we had never heard of a clothes dryer. Even if we had heard of one we couldn’t have afforded it. As I hung the diapers on the line they would freeze dry but would also freeze to the line underneath the clothes pins. This meant trying to break the ice loose so you could get the pins loose.

The late Pink Hendrix told me when he was growing up his family lived in a house that was so cold and opened that when it snowed the wind blew the snow in the house between the cracks in the wall. Most people lived through the cold winters in cold houses and didn’t think anything about it. You went to bed in a cold room under so much cover you could hardly move. Even if my sister Maxine and I were mad at each other we snuggled tight when we went to bed in order to keep warm.

Maybe the fact that I have always eaten black eyed peas on New Year’s has blessed me with a roof over my head. It may not have been the best roof in the world but a roof and I have never had to go hungry. I may have eaten the same thing three hundred sixty-five days a year but there was always food on the table. I may not have been rich in money but rich in the fact I have always had a home. HAPPY NEW YEAR’S! May the New Year hold only the very best for you and that you will always have a roof over your head!

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