I feel the truth of what older friends and family have been telling me -- the years speed up as you go along. It seems like last month, I swear, that we welcomed 2009 with the prayer that it be a better, more stable and peaceful year for our families, our jobs, our country. Many feel like that hasn't happened. Yet there remains, as always, hope, and that's why today I'm eating black-eyed peas, soaked overnight and braised in the oven; and collard greens, this year the pre-chopped kind in the 2 lb. plastic bag, so much easier than rinsing fresh greens, cooked with a smoked turkey leg and served with red wine vinegar and coarse black pepper; cornbread baked in my cast-iron skillet; and homemade buttermilk-brined fried chicken.
I will take a moment to express sorrow for those non-Southerners without the grand tradition of this humble feast. The black-eyed peas are for good luck and the greens for lots of "greenbacks" during the year. The fried chicken and cornbread are because I can and I will.
So, I raise a fried chicken leg to my friends and family and readers and wish all of you health and happiness in 2010. May at least some of our wishes come true this year. And no matter what the year brings, may we still be able to afford black-eyed peas and greens when we welcome the new decade January 1, 2011.