The flu has been going around my family this holiday season, so I’m just getting around to making our New Year’s Day meal today. The fact that I’m already two days late on my to-do list doesn’t bode well for the rest of my resolutions, but I’m adopting a “better late than never” strategy for this year and cutting myself some slack. In addition to making my mother-in-law’s hoppin’ john (of which I had a small taste on the way to the airport on New Year’s Day), I’ll also make some collards and what’s left of the country ham I picked up from the Carolina Country Store before the holidays. Somewhere in there, I’ll sprinkle some of the mysterious spice blend called Soul Food Seasoning I picked up from my parents’ local Piggy Wiggly last week. Not sure what’s in it, exactly, but it seems like the kind of all-purpose taste enhancer that will liven up just about any dish.
As for resolutions, I typically go the “be better in general” route, rather than create a Thomas Jefferson–style perfection plan. However, I do enjoy reading the vows other people have made. Here are a few of my favorites:
Charlie Brown: Keep the ball low, don’t leave your crayons in the sun, use dental floss every day, don’t spill the shoe polish, always knock before entering, don’t let the ants get in the sugar, never volunteer to be a program chairman, always get your first serve in, and feed your dog whenever he’s hungry.
Benjamin Franklin: Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.
Mark Twain: New Year’s Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.
William Faulkner: Pouring out liquor is like burning books.