What it takes to get some good luck around here

by Katie on January 3, 2010

After supper on New Year’s Eve, and tucking Brandon into bed for a short nap before it was time to venture into the cold to change water (again), I headed out in search of my New Year’s Day feast.
Brandon’s parents were kind enough to give us a Honeybaked Ham (yum!) for Christmas, so we fully planned on digging into that. But, I still hadn’t picked up my traditional black-eyed peas and green cabbage.
No big deal, I thought. I’ll just run to one of the two giant grocery stores five minutes down the road, pick up a head of cabbage and bag of beans.
Not so much.
Last year, every time I mentioned eating peas and cabbage on New Year’s Day, my Arizona friends and family all asked, “Why? What for?”
I, not realizing, this is a regional tradition, would kind of smile and say, “Come on, you know, luck? Money? New Year’s?”
And I was met with many blank stares because they had no idea what I was talking about.
Apparently, the tradition caught on out here this year.
I went into Fry’s (same as Kroger, Texans) first, since they usually have a little better produce. There was not a single head of green cabbage on the shelf. I just stood there staring at the lone cabbage leaf left behind, not believing it.
Then, I tried the peas. I dug through every bag of beans, rice and peas left on the shelves, and came up empty on black-eyed peas. So, I thought I would just settle on the not-as-good canned peas.
Nope. The black-eyed pea section was wiped out. And not just the store brand. Every single can from every single company. Gone.
Slightly nervous about my holiday meal, I went across the street to the Super Wal-Mart. I saw the green cabbage as soon as I walked in the door, and felt a little relief.
But once again, no bags of peas. I dug around, checked the top shelf, looked behind the lentils and 15-bean soup. I was wondering if this was already a sign for my 2010, and didn’t like it one bit.
Again, I made my way to the canned vegetables. At this point, thinking any sort of black-eyed pea was better than no pea at all.
There was one other woman in the aisle, studying the thousands of cans. A minute later, she made a move in front of me, and saw she was reaching for exactly what I was in search of: she had found the black-eyed peas.
I told her, “I’m so glad you found these. I just came from Fry’s and they didn’t have a single black-eyed pea in the store.”
She said, “I just thought it was a Southern thing. They’re out of the bagged peas here. I’m glad you told me that, because I was headed to Fry’s next to look for them there.”
Me: “Yeah, I checked for bagged peas first, too. I’m from Texas, and when I was talking about eating this stuff last year, everyone thought I was crazy. I surely didn’t think I wasn’t going to be able to find it this year.”
Turns out she was from Georgia and had experienced the same lack of tradition in her circle of friends. And, turns out Georgians eat greens instead of cabbage for money.
So, we wished each other well, and parted ways, good luck in hand.
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