Collard Greens, Hog Jaws, and Black-Eyed Peas
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While comparing prices on cans of beans, I noticed a man bent over reaching toward the bottom shelf of the local discount food market. Hed draw his hand back, reach again, run his finger along the dry packages of beans and peas, and then pull back.

He muttered to himself, rose up, scratched his head, and then bent at the waist again, searching the shelves, pushing products aside, reaching toward the back. Oh, come on, theyve got to have the black-eyed ones. In a bit of a panic and not willing to give up, he scanned the shelves one last time, knocking things askew, frantic to find what he desperately needed. Finally, he let out a breath of relief and snatched up a bag of black-eyed peas.

By now Id given up all pretenses about checking the price of canned beans, and he caught me staring at him-a bit fascinated and somewhat puzzled. I imagine my eyes must have been wide with curiosity-probably not one of my better traits. But its not every day that you come across a person on the verge of going nuts because he cant find a bag of peas.

He answered my unspoken question. For good luck. He held up the bag of black-eyed peas. I eat them every New Years day for good luck throughout the rest of the year. He grinned and tossed them into his buggy. Ive had them every New Years since I can remember. No sense in stopping now.

I smiled, nodded as if that made all the sense in the world and said, Cool. He was gone before I could ask him if the good luck peas worked.

I pushed my buggy forward, and then paused. Should I? Glancing up the grocery aisle, and then in the opposite direction, as if getting ready to snatch something off the shelf and stuff it in my jacket pocket, I reached toward the bottom shelf and grabbed a bag of black-eyed peas. I could use some good luck. Might as well give it a whirl. I threw them in my buggy and headed for the checkout, nearly running down an elderly lady in my haste to get there.

Upon telling my daddy about the experience and being proud of discovering a new ritual, albeit a tad odd, for New Years Day, he informed me that I also needed collared greens and hog jaws to make the good luck meal complete.

Oh brother!

Back to the grocery store.

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