I woke up to a flooded basement. The toilet ran and dripped down the walls and made a non-ignorable puddle in the basement. We had only gone up to the lakehouse for one night because being at the lakehouse on New Years Eve is a lucky tradition for me. Years when I don’t do it have felt perilously off from the start. One included a broken heater. One resulted in my kid getting accidentally locked outside when a dog chased her. One featured a very reasonable choice to forgo what turned out to be an unforgettable family experience that I will always have missed out on – a true FOMO come true. Come to think of it, all three of those were the same year. So, we went up to the lakehouse for luck this year, and woke up to broken toilet. But I did my good luck duty, so it could have been worse, right? I called my uncle, the plumber, who offered his help. I guess that was, and is, good luck.
We always eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight on New Years. We do that because I read it’s good luck in Spain, so I shove them in two at a time and chew sloppily while Ryan Seacrest chatters. I make my husband and kiddos do it, too. Every year, my husband complains how much he hates it, and the children nearly choke. I start off the new year with a mad husband and choking children, but if I don’t do it, things’ll be worse, right? Right. Gotta eat the grapes to avert bigger disasters.
I have a rotten head cold. I want to snuggle on the couch and stare into space and not think about the broken toilet. But I am baking cornbread and making the only edible version of black eyed peas my family will eat (LuLu’s L.A. Caviar, a fine recipe indeed to convince my family to eat black-eyed peas with a smile). I will stir some cold, canned collard greens into my reheated Chinese food, too. I must do this, because black-eyed peas, collard greens, and cornbread ensure wealth in the new year in the South. To sit on the couch and nurse my cold instead invites financial disaster. Years when I’ve tried to forgo it, and I felt a pang every time I had to tap my savings account. Doesn’t matter that I likely still had to tap the savings account on the years that I did. I suppose the luck is having a savings account to begin with. I suppose the head cold is also good luck – I am so congested, I will not be fully aware of the odorous intestinal results from my family thanks to the fiber in the black-eyed peas.
The point here? I have had years when I have intentionally bucked the traditions. I have had years when life was weird or hard, and I just didn’t get there. And I noticed. I noticed. Maybe the universe didn’t, but I did. So we went to the lakehouse. We ate the grapes. I just had a hot piece of cornbread. I am getting out the dressed up black-eyed peas. I can reassure myself throughout 2020 that I did the things that brought the luck, and my path is going to be just as awesome as it possibly could be. Of course it will. I bought my insurance, and tomorrow, I'll have the righteous farts to prove it.
Hi. I'm Amanda Dobbs.