Buttermilk and Blood (Part 1): “I’ll Kill the First Man Who Touches This Engine” - The blue dot at the bottom of the map below, showing Fort Worth in 1890, marks where the tracks of the Fort Worth & New Orleans railroad and the tracks of ...
Friday, December 2, 2011
My Nephew David Visits Santa But I Do Not Think David Has Gotten His Black-Eyed Peas For New Year's Day Yet
I remember being taken to Sedro-Woolley every Christmas season to see Santa and get a big candy cane, and to tell Santa what I wanted for Christmas, none of which I ever got, which led to my early disillusionment with Christmas.
I have yet to see a Santa Claus this holiday season.
Speaking of this holiday season. There are differences in this southern region from how the season is celebrated in the northwestern region.
One example is black-eyed peas.
Decades ago, when I used to hang out with Gar the Texan, he would regularly confound me by saying things I did not understand. One that really sticks in my memory was we were heading up to Turner Falls Park in Oklahoma, in the week between Christmas and New Years.
At one point during the drive north, Gar the Texan asked if I was having trouble finding my black-eyed peas this year?
Huh? Why would I want black-eyed peas, I asked?
You don't have to have black-eyed peas on New Years Day, Gar the Texan asked?
No, said I. Why would I?
Gar the Texan then told me he thought everyone ate black-eyed peas for good luck for the new year on New Year's Day.
This was the first I ever heard of this.
Doing a little research into this serious black-eyed peas issue I learned this black-eyed peas thing on New Year's Day is a Southern thing. Apparently many Southerners believe this dates back to the Civil War when black-eyed peas were considered food for animals, not humans. General Sherman's troops would not eat black-eyed peas as they marched across Georgia on their way to burn Atlanta. When the Union soldiers would raid Confederate supplies they'd take everything but the black-eyed peas and salt pork.
The Confederates then considered themselves lucky to have been left the black-eyed peas and salt pork, giving them something to eat to survive the winter.
Others claim the black-eyed peas thing came about because black-eyed peas were all the newly freed Southern Slaves had to celebrate on January 1, 1863, the day the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, with, from that point forward, black-eyed peas always being eaten on the first day of the new year.
I find the Emancipation Proclamation explanation to be a bit difficult to believe. I don't think many slaves knew they'd been freed until later.
The only thing I know for sure about this black-eyed pea thing is I will not be having any on New Year's Day. But, I may change my mind on that if I get feeling desperately in need of acquiring some good luck.