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Here’s to a sock-soppin’ New Year

“Agh Agh Ah!”

I was caught red-handed.’

I turned, reluctantly, to the voice behind me.

“Going to cheat on New Year’s, are you?” the relative/friend said, and then held up a can of collard greens.

“I was afraid there wouldn’t been any greens cooked at my house,” he said, with a smile. “Gotta have greens!”

I had gone to the Pig with the full intention of getting fresh greens for New Year’s Day. But, standing there, thinking about all the work involved in putting fresh greens on the table, I retreated and sheepishly grabbed at bag of fresh-chopped collards. I had been on the way to the meat counter for hog jowl when I was caught cheating on collard greens.

In all my years, I don’t remember not have fresh greens on New Year’s Day.

One year, Daddy planted a turnip patch by simply scattering the seeds, helter-skelter. Turnips came up as thick as hops. When we went to gather the turnips, Daddy cautioned us not to step on the turnips.

Pharaoh’s Army could have stomped through that turnip patch and there still would have been enough turnip greens to feed all them and us, too.

Daddy had planted the turnips in sandy soil and the greens had more sand on them that on the beach at Panny-maw City.

No matter how many times I washed the greens they still were gritty. I was about to give up and forget about all the good luck the turnip greens would bring to my house in the coming year.

But, then, I remembered that a friend washed her turnips in the washing machine.

I gathered up the huge mess of greens and stuffed them in the washing machine. I listened happily as the sand was being washed away.

I put fresh pork in the pot to boil and be ready when the turnips were washed squeaky clean.

When the washing machine quieted, I reach in and gathered the greens that were as clean as a whistle in a dishpan and dumped them in the pot for cooking.

Oh, how good they smelled. It was going to be an especially good traditional New Year’s Day dinner.

When it was time to take up the greens, they looked a little darker than usual, perhaps, a little more blue than green. Strange?

As I dipped the turnip greens from the pot to the waiting bowl, they seemed a little heavy … and a bit soggy… and strange.

To my shock, hanging from the spoon, was a sock, a son’s faded blue cotton Sunday sock!

The sock had been left unnoticed in the washing machine, gathered for the cook pot and cooked to fading with the turnip greens.

Five gallons of greens, ruined! But, then, maybe no one would notice. Surely, the blue dye was not poisonous…

But what if … and I poisoned my children, my family?

Reluctantly, I gathered the treasured turnip greens and reluctantly walked out to the fence row and dumped my precious cargo.

It was going to be a sock-soaked New Year dinner.

The blacked-eyed peas and hog meat would have to bring good luck our way, if any luck came at all.

The raccoons that devoured the turnip greens were in for a really good year.