Black-eyed peas, cabbage and “The Twilight Zone”

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, December 30, 2015

It will soon be the beginning of a new year and as usual, my family will celebrate with food, family time and a “Twilight Zone” marathon.
During my childhood, we spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s with my mom’s family in Kentucky.
We would make the long drive home on New Year’s Eve. One particular evening stands out in my mind and that was during the Y2K crisis.
We were driving home that night and all I could think about was the chaos that was supposed to ensue as soon as all the computer systems crashed.
We arrived home before midnight and I couldn’t sleep so my dad and I rang in the New Year with episodes of “The Three Stooges.” Chaos never erupted and the New Year began as usual, with a hearty meal of black-eyed peas and cabbage.
Supposedly this meal will bring good luck and prosperity in the coming year. Whether it does or not, I’m always eager to partake in the traditional meal.
My favorite part of our New Year’s tradition begins New Year’s Eve with the “The Twilight Zone” marathon aired on the SyFy channel. I’m talking about the version narrated by the eclectic Rod Serling.
It’s hard to choose a favorite episode because I love all of the lessons learned by characters.
“The Mask” episode is set in New Orleans. and each mask is supposed to represent a certain characteristic of the wearer. Once the masks are removed, it is revealed that their faces have transformed to the mask shape and reflects their most ugly characteristic.
In ‘‘Time Enough At Last,” the main character finds himself with all the time in the world to sit down and read a book after a nuclear holocaust. However, his glasses break and he is unable to read. This one always scared me, because I, too, love to read, can’t find the time and wear glasses.
About 10 years ago, I flew on a plane for the first time. I wasn’t really scared of takeoff and landings, I was more scared of finding what William Shatner found in the episode ‘‘Nightmare at 20,000 Feet.’’
Shatner’s character is the only one to witness a monster tearing up the plane. Last year, I flew to New York on New Year’s Eve to meet my nephew for the first time and I sat by the wing. Even though I know it’s a fictional story, every time I glanced out the window I almost expected to see something tearing up the plane.
Since I have watched this show for many years, watching it each New Year’s is like sitting down with old friends.
But it’s the people around me that make our New Year’s tradition more special each year.
As I reflect on this year, I’m grateful for the new friends I’ve made here and the opportunities granted to me.
No matter how you spend your New Year’s Day, I hope you are surrounded by those who mean the most to you.

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