Monday, January 31, 2005

Humor for the Last Day of January Laughing Cat. Enjoy the sound. Many singing badgers. Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion Joke Show. It's A Wonderful Life by bunnies. Must see.

Have a happy evening.
Yours faithfully,
St. Casserole


The United Methodists have a slogan: "Open Minds, Open Hearts..." (or something like that). As I stood stirring the rice I cooked for supper tonight I thought, "why don't we Presbyies have a slogan?".
We have missions statements, themes for various groups but no slogan.
My guess is that we'd take 10 years to agree on a slogan. In the interest of time, here are some possibilities:

"The Presbyterian Church: We Aren't For Everyone"

"The Presbyterian Church: We Aren't For Everyone But You'll Understand at the End"

"Educated, Verbally Skilled and Ready to Serve Jesus"

"Presbyterians: Not Just for Old Folks"

"Presbyterians: We Don't Mean to Be Picky but Theology is Important to Us"

"You Are Welcome Here: Bring Your Brains Inside With You"

"Sanctified, Predestined and Humbled : The Presbyterian Church"

The Presbyterian Church: We Studied the Bible So We Ordain Called Women"

Ok, ok, I'm getting a tad feisty here. Can you help? Any suggestions?

My Work as Security Guard for Estate Sale

The estate sale went well for the sellers. I served as security and ran from inside the large home where the sale was held to outside to the garage sale items.
I'm fascinated with what sells and what remains. The pristine '70's furniture and accessories didn't sell. The tacky curio cabinets, newer reproduction furniture and many decorative plates (Norman Rockwell and GWTW) blew out the door. Beautiful sterling candlesticks both antique and contemporary lingered until prices dropped on Saturday. Crappy glass pieces (unsigned, unlovely) were hot to buyers.

If I ran a shop, I'd starve. I don't know how to pick what people will buy and I can't get enthusiastic about stuff I despise.

The Victorian jewelry pieces were 14kt. and genuine. They did not sell. Nor did the antique monogramed coins or award pieces sell. This surprised me as the antique jewelry was priced reasonably. Gorgeous stuff. I'd have bought some but didn't have the buckage.

The antique boys put what they consider junk in the garage sale. You fill and box with what you want then they give you a price. I dug through the tabletops and boxes underneath the tables to find a sterling yacht club trophy, new pen set, large American flag, odd vintage Christmas tree ornaments and some of the dirtiest silverplate flatware I've ever tried to polish. A sterling spoon heaved up in the gross flatware, though. The flatware will keep me busy trying to clean it while watching tv. Remember, I'm the only person in the state who enjoys polishing silver.

I like watching people as they shop, confer on pieces and make purchases. So different from my ususal world that although the three days wore me out physically, I enjoyed the work.

What is it about digging through junk that appeals to me? Why do I risk life and limb going through curb piles, old boxes at sales and the charity shops looking for stuff? I buy less than I did before because I'm changing my heart about owning things but I still enjoy the search.

Many people can't stand anything that isn't brand-new or full price. Except for clothing, food and furniture, I can't get too excited about new things. I do want clean furniture and clothing but new and full retail seems silly to me. I suppose if you do not have time to shop, you grab what you can reach without regard to price. Or, if you live without a car or adequate public transport you have shop where you can. If you have no money and must have a sofa, you do the rent-to-own or credit card thing.

I wish there was somehow to put people who need furniture and appliances together with people who want to give away those things. People give away the most amazing things everyday. It's too bad there isn't a way to connect the needers and givers.

Friday, January 28, 2005

More Later

Busy week with no time to blog. I'm helping the antique boys do a sale so I'm standing in rooms filled with lovely things helping shoppers. Very different from my usual weekly tasks but fun. The boys ask for my help two or three times a year to be security for their sales. Aha! Dour woman preacher of the Reformed tradition as security! What a thought!
More later........

Monday, January 24, 2005

Things I Know from Women Friends

If I didn't have such great women friends, I'd be miserable. I mean it. What would I do without the amazing group of women I talk, play, worry, plan, work with? Without them I'd be miserable and clueless.

a. hair care stuff will help/fix/improve any hair problem. Product is the key. Good product=good hair.
b. the needed foundational garments (ie. underwear) will fix any figure flooey or flaw. (cf. Nancy Ganz's grippies, etc.)
c. if you have to wear panty hose, wear the correct color. it makes a difference.
d. good make-up is better than cheap nasty make-up if you are over 21 and wear make-up.
e. a roadtrip really helps from time to time as does buying a new purse or new shoes.
f. sitting with a friend over coffee or diet coke is healing.
g. friends understand what it is you are feeling and they will love you through it if it's terrible.
h. laughing with women friends is one of the sweetest sounds in the world.
i. if you don't own party stuff like chafing dishes and extra forks, your friends will bring them to you.
j. if you are really crabby and can't stand human beings, your friends listen to your complaints then forget you ever said anything mean about anyone.
k. your friends will tell you if you have extraneous hairs, nose hangers, clothing tags showing or if your hair looks as if you are without hair care product. ( note: I have never had these situations but I know women who have had these situations).

How's it going for you?

Psalm 57:1 New Revised Standard Version

[1] Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings
I will take refuge,until the destroying storms pass by. Psalm 57:1

The denomination sends me daily lectionary readings for morning and evening. The above verse is the first of the morning's readings. "For in you my soul" touches me with the power of God's consoling love while the "until the destroying storms..." reminds me of how realistic the Psalmist is in assessing life's troubles.
Life does have it's destroying storms whether within families, commmunities, friendships or in the larger world of politics. Taking refuge makes sense so that one can move through the storms knowing that we are not alone or friendless. As Buechner says of Jesus, he "is our fast final friend and judge". Better to have Jesus as a final friend and judge than one who does not know us or care for us.

Ah! Monday mornings........the preacher's favorite. How's it with you?

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Squirrels in the Pine Grove

A brilliant shining full moon glows through the pine trees here in the grove. It's a cold night for us. I re-filled the bird and squirrel feeders, watered the plants in the courtyard and told the squirrels to go to the greenhouse if they got cold.
Actually, I only thought that the squirrels should take shelter in the green house. I don't tell our squirrels anything. They tell me. Squirrels in the grove let me know when they need more feed, which cats they detest, where the eagle has been and have shown me that there is no peace in the kingdom.
Is it just my squirrels or do all squirrels fuss? Territorial battles, food fights and general crankiness all cause loud squirrel cussing on the ground and in our trees.
The LH saw a program on squirrels and sunflower seeds. According to the program, squirrels love sunflower seeds and if given a menu choose the seeds over anything else. Sunflower seeds don't have the nutrients squirrels need so it's like a diet of Snickers and Hershey's bars which causes either loss of fur or change of color. I don't remember which happens but I do know the St. Casserole Squirrels are very fat. I offer them corn in the feeder but they just kick the corn to the ground and bang on the window for sunflower seeds.
How's it with you?

Friday, January 21, 2005

Dom Augustin Guillerand

"God will know how to draw glory even from our faults. Not to be downcast after committing a fault is one of the marks of true sanctity."
Dom Augustin Guillerand

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Another Cartoon Character Stands Accused

Is there not enough to do in this world? Have we conquered poverty, pain and character flaws so convincingly that we must now turn our thoughts to BAD cartoon characters?

Those of you wearing Sponge Bob Squarepants slippers are in trouble. According to the Christian right, Sponge Bob holds hands with Patrick and has an agenda. Go here and repent:

Holding hands is peaceful and comforting. I hold hands with my children and spouse. I would hold hands with my friends if the cultural obstacles weren't so distracting. Holding hands is a lovely thing. Not sexual. Just friendly.

Hey folks! How 'bout we commit ourselves to justice for all, doing away with greed, providing racial reconciliation? Stopping hunger and homelessness? Could we do things which require time and effort instead of blasting cartoon characters?

Glad you stopped by. Have a comment?

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

What fashion do you follow? Who influences how you dress yourself?

I found a long sleeved cotton madras shirt dress at a charity store in my size. Bought it. Put it on (after washing and ironing; have cootie fears.) Wearing the June Cleaver shirtdress I was taken back to Junior High School (aka Middle School) in a flash. So evocative of years ago. I looked again in the mirror and realized I was looking like a freshly pressed bag lady who'd scare the strangers at the grocery store. Put dress in box for charity store donations.

I look at my younger pals and see that they wear styles popular during their college years. I look at kids at the Mall to see what style they wear. My older gal pals either wear clothing that is up-to-date gently or dress in pieces they bought years ago. Up-to-date gently works better on older gals then baring their tummies and wearing baby t-shirts. Really. Think about it.

Some older gals keep the hairstyle they wore in their forties, thirty years ago. I'm fascinated with this. Don't they get bored with the same hair, year after year?
Some gals I know wear those knit separates with little appliques of animals, etc. Can't follow light on those choices.
Many refuse to wear jeans unless the jeans are dry-cleaned pressed.

The oddest look to me is the Suburban Sex Babe ensemble. What's with that? Girlie clothing with lots of flash.
Older gals dressing this way is odd. Not that I think older gals need to look like old biddies but really, isn't it time to pick another style?

I want to be comfortable in my clothing. Warm when I'm cold. Cool when it's hot outside. Comfortable without being boring. Accessible as a serious kind of gal.

What's going on with you and your style? What am I forgetting? Have I gone so light-weight in this blog that I need to hush for few days? Comments, please.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Let the Words of My Mouth...

I've a colleague who is from an interesting part of the East Coast. Her speech accent is quite pronounced and unusual. I love to hear her speak as I am familiar with her region and it pleases me that her accent remains after many years down here.

Several years ago, I heard a parishioner comment on the accent and say, "I can't listen to her. I don't know what she's saying." This comment was delivered in such down South accent that I could understand her only by how many years I've been down heah.

I love regional speech. I love Southern vernacular. I love the range and force, inflection and left out letters and all the gumbo of how we talk down heah. Or up there, or anywhere.

I love British accents but wish I could tell the difference as Brits do between the uppahs and the lowahs. The only regional accents which irritate me are the high-pitched Southern male tones. We have several public radio commentators whose voices drive me nutzoid. Other than those poor men whose voices make them sound as if they've been raised by crazed soprano singing women, I like regional speech. I know of no Southern women who speak as these men do.

As a preacher, my speech habits matter. I must speak clearly and be understood. I must use language which my hearers understand. When I began preaching I was careful to explain any technical terms such as "pericope, exegesis, "J" source, theonomy, etc. Now, I don't use those words but explain my terms. I'm not giving a technical lecture, I'm preaching.

The difficulty for me is that I am mimic. I can hear and mimic most anything. I love playing with words and have been fascinated with mis-pronunciations since I first heard a kid in fourth grade say "sword" by pronouncing each letter. Then, our father was a reader but not a pronouncer. He peppered his speech with words our mother corrected quickly for pronunciation. In his later years, he began to do malaprops which I still remember with great fondness. But! I must never mimic him! I must never mimic the grammar of my area which at it's worst is almost a new language. I must never use the slang speech of my children! I must not! (I read that kids hate it when an adult uses "their" speech, but it's a temptation for me because it's so amazing how malleable language is.) I must speak carefully and clearly.

I caint. Yep. I say "caint" for "can't." I didn't realize this until my LLS pointed it out to me several years ago.
I caint catch myself always. I'm working on it.

What's going on with you?

Saturday, January 15, 2005


I keep forgetting to mention to you that the junking is way off these days. Right before Christmas, then right after, the yard sales, estate sales and junk picking can be down. People don't feel like doing much else until they try to put away their gifts and decorations and realize they've run out of storage room. I expect things to pick up soon.
I thought we'd have some estate sales around Christmas when family members gather to discuss what to do with Maw-Maw's household stuff but that didn't happen. The sales at the end of the month when people are hoping to get rent money depress me.
I'm missing adding to my junk but all the while I am filling box after box with stuff for the Salvation Army and Goodwill. I'm giving it away. Not selling it but giving it away. I think someone else may need clothing and house hold items. I started this several weeks ago and haven't stopped. Every closet, every drawer, every cabinet is opening to heave out stuff I want to give away.
It feels odd to give so much away. I've needed some things I've given away but I just made do with something else or did without. So what? I can do this. I don't care if I like the feeling or not, it's the disciplined thing to do for me. Don't know about you. You figure it out for yourself but for me, giving this stuff away at this time is what I need to do.
Y'all take care now, hear?

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

I haven't blogged lately because I'm reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. I received the hard cover for Christmas and am determined to finish and enjoy it because I seldom purchase (or am given) NEW hardcover books. The Christmas books I received from my LSiL are hardbacks and beautiful. I've read most of the selection by now.
The story is about the search for English magicians in the 1800's, two of whom are the title characters. The prose is like walking through molasses. Not that she doesn't write well it's just that the books is slap endless! Portions of the story move along while others are measured out slowly with too many details. She uses one of my favorite literary devices---fake footnotes. I sure would like to use fake footnotes to explain MY story.
Overall, I like the book but I read quickly and this book is going so very slowly. I think I am to page 250 by now but am not sure. No matter how long I read, I'm not finished. I'm not daunted by long books. I prefer them usually but this book must have a spell on it as I cannot seem to make any progress.

Don't tell me the ending. I'll get to the end next week.
Sorry. Haven't been blogging much in the past days. Maybe it's because I'm thinking about:

My sermon for Sunday on Jesus calling the first disciples (John 1:29-42).

A church sign I saw going east on our main artery. The sign said, "Support Right to Life by Buying a Right to Life Car Tag." Yeah, right. Why doesn't that church do something to stop abortion like making the world a place where every pregnancy is planned and wanted? I'm sick of abortion being the "key" issue for Christians while they do nothing to change their own behavior and values.

Why it grey days are upsetting to me when other people enjoy the change-of-sky and look forward to no sunshine? We did have a sunny day yesterday and today so my spirits are better.

Camellias are called the "rose of winter" with good reason. Our camellia bushes are lovely this year.

Small congregations who feel ashamed that they aren't a large sized church. Why not celebrate the strengths and victories of small church life?

The joys of having a very old man cat.

Going to chaperone a seventh grade dance and enjoying it actually.

What's going on with you?

A Prayer of Augustine

O Thou, from whom to be turned is to fall,
to whom to be turned is to rise,
and in whom to stand is to abide for ever:
Grant us in all our duties thy help,
in all our perplexities thy guidance,
in all our dangers thy protection,
and in all our sorrows thy peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

My World

I imagine my bloggie readers as cosmopolitan, urbane and cool folks. People who can identify wines, discuss the Market and read witty magazines. I like thinking of you all this way.
In my world, libraries ban Jon Stewart's book because it shows nekkid bodies with superimposed Supremes heads. In my world, the local Walmart has a grocery cart of one dollar hats for sale. Every hat is "I'm Proud to be a Democrat." People are poor as Job's turkey but vote Republican because the Republicans are Christian. This is my world.
Not that there aren't flashes of light. Our local police chief is working on his doctorate in adult education (can't remember the initials used for the degree). The Neshoba County murders of the three Civil Rights workers has reopened in the past few days to go after "Preacher" Killen. Killen was acquitted years ago by a jury which included a woman who couldn't vote against a preacher. Other flashes of light are the good hearted people of the state who are marching on the State Capitol because they can't bear to see more cuts to public education. Our infant mortality stats are going down. These things are encouraging.
However, when was the last time you were sitting at supper with your LH and the doorbell rang? Getting up, the LH was greeted by two Southern Baptists who wanted to follow up on a visit our LS made to their church for a Christmas choral concert. These two men asked our son, point blank, "When did you come to know the Lord". Most of us East Coast Presbyies don't know how to answer a question like that because we were baptized as arm babies, raised in the church and don't remember any day that we didn't know Jesus. I answered for the LS but then, who am I? Just a gal.
After the two men left, LS and LH had a discussion about why the Southern Baptists don't ordain women. I was silent and loving every word. LS and LH were snorting with disbelief that any one would tell another Christian that she could not answer God's call to ministry because she was a she. It is absurd that this kind of spiritual suppression continues.
Anyway, just to let you know the Southern Baptists visit door to door. They come to my house.
Just wanted to let you know what goes on around here.


Our LS has written a memoir for his AP English class. He wrote about the thrill of getting his driver's license and how being able to drive has changed his life. The freedom to go to see friends, go to the movies and drive a carpool makes him feel grown-up. I'm charmed that his teacher assigned "memoir" as a form of literature and that her class is reflecting on their lives. Their lives so far.... These are 16 and 17 year olds. LS read Hemingway's A Moveable Feast to prepare himself. I'm not sure anything Ernest did compares to the thrill of driving alone in the Piney Woods.
If you wrote a memoir, what would you recall for your readers?

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Arriving at Adulthood

I thought I became an adult when I turned 21. Or, when I got my first "real" job. Or, when I bought my first sofa for my first apartment. Maybe I became an adult when I committed myself to marriage or had a miscarriage or perhaps it happened when I found my first wrinkle. But, I was wrong. Dead wrong.
I am an adult tonight, officially. I have arrived at that place children dream of where adulthood flames up high.
This is a big moment for me and I'm sharing it with you, my bloggie pals.
Tonight, I, St.Casserole, shepherd of a flock, wife of the LH, mother of LS and LD, sister of LLS and owner of not one but two lipsticks, am an adult.
Just moments ago the LS, who is 17, announced with certainty that I am OLD.
I am old-fashioned, have old ideas, don't understand and am rather hopeless at catching the drift of someone who is not OLD as I am.
I've been told this before by both of my children but tonight the accusations came together like a well-mixed cake batter. I am OLD.

So, I'm an adult. I have turned into my Mother and Father and all the old folks who came before me.
What's going on with you?

Friday, January 07, 2005

I've been to two Roman funerals recently. At both I've been struck by the priest praying for the dead person and telling the congregation to pray for the dead, too. If we go to God at death to begin our "life" with God then why would the dead need our prayers? Is God so busy that God can't pay attention to our Uncle Freddy unless we remind Him? I don't have a missal for the Roman Catholic church in my study nor could I find online the liturgy I heard.

I am a Protestant and this shows in my remarks. I like the way the II Helvetic Confession says of death, " THE BURIAL OF BODIES :
THE CARE FOR THE DEAD. On the other hand, we do not approve of those who are overly and absurdly attentive to the deceased; who, like the heathen, bewail their dead (although we do not blame that moderate mourning which the apostle permits in I Thess. 4:13, judging it to be inhuman not to grieve at all); and who sacrifice for the dead, and mumble certain prayers for pay, in order by such ceremonies to deliver their loved ones from the torments in which they are immersed by death, and then think they are able to liberate them by such incantations.
5.237 , and,
THE STATE OF THE SOUL DEPARTED FROM THE BODY. For we believe that the faithful, after bodily death, go directly to Christ, and, therefore, do not need the eulogies and prayers of the living for the dead and their services. Likewise we believe that unbelievers are immediately cast into hell from which no exit is opened for the wicked by any services of the living.
5.238 (from$fn=default.htm$vid=default$3.0)

I like it that our theology teaches that the dead go to be with God and are therefore in God's loving care. We need not worry about the dead anymore. No more pain, no more infirmity, no more misery.

How would praying for the dead make any difference? Is their eternity not secure? If it isn't would our prayers be the deciding factor for any improvement?

If we are in the habit of praying for a very ill person to be relieved from pain and the person dies, then it comforts me to know that I need not worry about the person being in pain ever again.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Funeral Visitation

The weeks following Christmas a busy time for pastors as people who have held on through the holidays wear out and die. Older people and younger people with chronic diseases are in this category. It's amazing that the human spirit is able to push forward with life until a specific date or event. I have no idea if this is scientific or not but my experience shows that death follows the big dates and events.

A dear friend of ours died Monday. He struggled with catastrophic illness for several years all the while keeping a loving and kind attitude. He is my model for ethics and style while dying. I use the word 'style' because his personal style of loving kindness and interest in the world around him continued through his illness. I thought one was allowed great crabbiness and whatever when death seems imminent but I am changing my mind about this. I'd like to be like my friend. In life and in death we belong to God. He lived this.

January doesn't have much to commend it. Gray and yukky down here in the Pine Grove even it we got up to the mid-70's today. The mosquitos survived our Christmas Freeze. I wanted them dead. It's no fun slapping on bug repellant in the wintertime.

(Note: I am teasing about pruning azaleas. You prune azaleas right after they bloom. To prune now would cut off the buds for Spring 2005).

January is not my best month. All the preacher's today at the meeting were talking about family or congregational deaths. We were discussing forms of funeral meditations. Would you like to know more about this? If so, stop lurking and leave a comment.

Only 26 more days of January.

Today is De-Lurking Day

Thanks to PaperNapkin for the concept and picture. I know you are out there! Comment!

Monday, January 03, 2005

Betty Feezor's Gift to Me

Kids, back in my day television had two channels only.
That's right! Only two TV stations per TV. No cable, no direct TV, just two channels. Cable came when I was in high school and was rather ratty.
I remember when we got our first TV. Papa put it on top of the dresser in his bedroom in our first house. My Lls doesn't even remember that house because she came to it and left it as a baby. Mama made beautiful curtains with circus characters for her nursery. Lls doesn't remember the curtains either. We ate lots of jelly donuts back then and she didn't get any.
Back to TV. We watched either WSOC or WBT (I'm not remembering the call letters of the station, too many years). NBC or CBS. That was it. Nothing else. But did we care? Heck no! We were thrilled with two black and white channels because one of these stations had The Betty Feezor Show.
As a pre-school child, I would eat my lunch then go to the den to watch the Betty Feezor Show with my Mama. Mama would take a quick snooze after the show started. I had to be quiet while she watched Betty so I fell asleep, too. On Saturdays, my dad and I would fall asleep listening to the Met Opera program.
Betty discussed how to sew different beautiful things, cooked lovely foods and generally told housewives how to do house stuff. An early Martha Stewart without diamond earrings. I remember Betty looked like a normal Mom although my Mama thought Betty was very attractive. Betty was our hometown's celebrity.
This began the habit of afternoon naps which continues to this day. That's right. I'm a napper.
I napped in high school, college and seminary. I napped with my babies with great delight. I thought other Moms were doing great tasks while their babies napped but I just napped along with the little child. Our LS stopped napping at 2 years of age and doesn't nap now unless he is very sick. Our LD will fall asleep instantly if I can get her reclining and quiet for five minutes. She refuses to take naps with me. Only last week I offered her $5 to take a nap with me and she refused. Even my old man cat refuses to nap with me much. The LH does not nap. My friends get provoked that I nap. Does this lack of companionship keep me from taking a 45 min. -longer nappage each and every day? No way.
Naps allow me to turn off my business and rest. Naps give me the energy I need for late afternoon car pooling, advising and general hustle to get my family to their activities and then fed supper. I need naps. I like naps and I assume I will nap into my dotage.
I have no idea of anyone else on the planet remembers dear Betty Feezor but this entry is my tribute to her lasting gift of teaching me to let it all go into a sweet and deep nap.

Saturday, January 01, 2005


Do something good for yourself and your community tomorrow. Go to Church. Go to the place where people gather to focus on God and the concerns of God. You may not know anyone there but that doesn't matter right now. What does matter is that you place yourself where you can spend an hour, at least, in a sanctuary with God's people. Sit quietly, read the liturgy, listen to the prayers, pray, sing or read the lyrics to the hymns. Honor the deep stirrings of your own heart for God by going to where God is worshipped.

Rather than tell me why going to Church isn't the thing for you, go anyway. You'll be with people who want to be close to God and be God's people. Are they perfect? No. Are you perfect? No? Great! You'll fit right in with them.

Are you angry with the Church for letting you down years ago or last year? Great! You must care or you would be indifferent. Do you avoid every situation which reminds you of being angry? Not much of a life for you.

Sermon not what you'd like? Then listen and consider what you would say to make the Gospel real for listeners. Hymns old fashioned or too cool for your tastes? No problem. How would you make music to celebrate God? People dressed differently than you? If so, this gives you a chance to check if you are superficial about the appearance of those around you.

Are you bored? Go to Church. Grieving? Go to Church. Content with yourself and your life? Go to Church.
Concerned about your world? Not very hopeful about your future and the future? Go be with a community which is attempting to live as God's people in THIS world.

My mother said that the very Sunday we don't want to go to Church is the Sunday we need to go to Church.

Let me hear from you. I can respond Sunday afternoon. I'm going to Church tomorrow.

What's On the Menu?

Today one must eat black-eyed peas with rice, cabbage, ham and cornbread. One must eat these foods to remain in good standing in the I AM A SOUTHERNER rulebook. Therefore, the menu today for the mid-day meal will be:
Black-eyed peas (use canned peas b/c the fresh peas take too long to cook) seasoned with bits of ham.
Long grain rice cooked the traditional way which means no electric rice cooker, no quick or instant rice.

Steamed cabbage with sauteed onion, green pepper and garlic added. My steamed cabbage with raisins and apples was considered quite compelling for several years but no one asks for it anymore. Use pepper, a bunch of it on cabbage. No cabbage rolls with meat rolled up in the leaves. Too much trouble. This is a vegetable not another opportunity to use meat.

Ham, spiral sliced and heated.

Cornbread. First the crusty cornbread baked in a black cast iron frying pan, then the more contemporary cornbread with canned corn baked in a deep dish.

These foods represent good fortune and wealth. I can't remember what exactly they each represent but this meal is eaten by my people on New Year's Day every year whether we want to eat it or not. One may mess with the Christmas Day menu or even the Easter Day menu. One may NOT mess with this menu.

God bless you in the New Year and always.

from Prayers for the Civil Year

New Year's Day

Eternal God, who makest all things new, and abidest for ever the same:
Grant us to begin this year in Thy faith, and to continue it in Thy favor;
that, being guided in all our doings, and guarded in all our days,
we may spend our lives in Thy service, and finally, by Thy grace,
atttain the glory of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

( The Book of Common Worship, 1946, published for the General Assembly)