posted on Feb, 4 2005 @ 07:30 PM
Another chapter of a work i'm putting together. It's nice to have a place to post it so I can come back and review it every so often. Thanks.
In my home state of Arkansas, And I’m sure other places as well, there’s a tradition of eating black eyed peas and hog jowl on new years day.
It’s supposed to bring you luck and prosperity for the rest of the year. Of all the people I know who insisted on that tradition I’ve yet to see a
one get prosperous. I personally avoid it because I’ve never cared for the taste of either. Now, My lack of prosperity doesn't mean they're right
and they're lack of prosperity doesn't mean I am. It just means there’s allot of funny beliefs in this world. I made it a point of bringing this
up one day with Aunt Minnie.
The sky was overcast on a muggy spring afternoon. Sunlight shot thru the clouds in oddball places, which left one wondering if it was going to
rain or clear up. She and I were walking down the road after spending the morning in the woods. We hadn't gathered anything. It had been more of a
teaching session for me about life and flowers and showing respect for the woods and nature. Normally we would have spent the whole day there but
Minnie had suddenly announced it was time to go.
"Do you eat Pea's and hog jowl on new years?" I asked her.
"Yes I do." she replied. Not a moment’s hesitation. Almost as if she had been waiting for the question and had the answer all cocked and
ready to fire off.
"Why?" I asked. "Do you honestly believe that something like that will make you prosperous and bring you luck?" I had a huge grin on my
face, letting her know I thought the idea was dumb.
She just smiled and kept walking. She was studying the sky and taking long looks off into the horizon. I hadn't a clue what she was looking
for but figured it must have been important. She seldom let my questions just hang in the air like that. Finally, after what seemed half an hour but
couldn't have been more then a few minutes she stopped, turned to me and replied.
"Now listen to me carefully child." Her face had gone stern, almost mean looking. "Many people believe many different things and it’s not
your place to tell them they're wrong. They have a right to their beliefs just as surely as you do. You can question those beliefs and you can decide
their not right for you, But when you start making fun of them or belittling them your saying a hell of allot more about your own ignorance then you
are about theirs." And then she was walking again.
I stood there frozen. I hadn't expected that strong of a reaction from her. I wasn't sure if I’d just been educated, slapped or just taken
down a notch. Looking back I realize it was a little of all three. And it was probably one of the most important lessons she was to teach me. Still,
at the moment all I could do was take off walking to catch up with her. As I came up by her side I didn't say a word. I had no idea what to say.
"I like black eyed peas and hog jowl." She stated. Her demeanor was calm again and she was once more studying the far off sky. "Your Grandma
makes a huge pot of it every new years day and I go over and eat till I’m stuffed. I don't count on it to bring me luck or money or anything more
then a full belly. That doesn't mean it doesn't do those things though."
"So you do think its possible that it can bring you luck." I said that with as much respect and honest curiosity as I could muster. I wasn't
going to set her off again if I could help it.
"Your Grandma and Grandpa both believed that. It wasn't my place to question'em. Plus I always get a free meal out of the deal and your
grandmas hog jowls a mighty tasty dish. I consider myself to be very lucky to spend new years day at her place with the rest of the family. So yea, it
brings me luck."
We continued walking only now the noise was natural instead of questioning. The birds could be heard in the trees. The scratching of squirrel
claws as they scurried from branch to branch. Spring was in full bloom and not even the threatening sky could slow down the march of Mother Nature.
My mind was swirling with the words she had said. Perhaps luck was nothing more than a part of your perspective on life. If you looked at the
blessings in your life and considered yourself lucky for having them then luck really did exist. At least to you. If you took the blessings for
granted then the only luck you could have would be bad luck because all the good things were simply taken as a given. It really boiled down to how you
looked at things. I was doing my best to figure this out and remember, I’ve never claimed to be the brightest bulb on the tree, only that I have my
"So what your say is," I began, " Your life is a reflection of your perspective on it. If you go around seeing things as being bad then they
inherently will be."
She didn't say a word. We had made it as far as her house and I needed to get home. I walked with her as far as her front porch and stopped on
the walk. At the top of the steps she turned back and gave me that smile which let me know all was ok. Then she gave me one final bit of wisdom before
"Your beliefs are just that." She said. "Your beliefs. Just because someone tells you they're wrong doesn't mean they are. It only means
that they believe differently. Just because someone agrees with you doesn't mean your right either. Now you think about that on your way home. If
you’re "lucky" then perhaps you'll get a clearer "perspective." along the way."
To this day I’m not exactly sure why she emphasized those two words or how things were suppose to get clearer for me. All I know for sure is
that about halfway home it began to rain.
Love and light to each of you,