Thursday, January 1, 2009

Greeting the Future

It’s New Year’s Eve and I really don’t feel like going out. Mind you, I enjoy being with people, but not this time. In the last few years, many precious family members have passed. Going out and seeing other families is making me a little sad this season.

I feel like sitting beside a roaring fire and consuming black-eyed peas and cornbread: the grainy, barely sweet cornbread soaking up the meaty, earthy juices of the black-eyed peas.

The black-eyed peas could benefit from the extra large batch of smoky turkey stock simmering on my stove at present. The Christmas bird was smoked over a combination of apple, cherry, cabernet and rosemary chips. The savory scent makes my house feel cozy and welcoming.

The fireplace has been set for a few days now, waiting for a chilly Texas evening. Stacked are branches of oak, pecan, elm and whatever other fallen branches were scavenged during my morning walks. The combination of who-knows-what firewood will fill the house with a complex smoky fragrance.

Throughout the neighborhood, construction companies are tearing down old quaint houses for MacMansions. When it’s dark, and no one can see me, I dig through the construction garbage and collect bits of untreated oak for the fireplace. Perhaps I have a wicked desire to consume the consumers of our vintage Leave-It-To-Beaver neighborhood. How dare the builders destroy the remnant traces of our departed neighbors?

So, it seems I’m in the mood to burn and consume. Or, maybe I want to turn back the clock to a less mechanized time, so I can move forward.

Tonight, I’ll surround myself with the family portraits hanging in the living room. I eat a long held family tradition: black eyed peas and cornbread. The warmth of this simple repast will heat the bowl given to me by Uncle Goodloe and Aunt Martha. The bowl will warm my hands as the fire crackles.

The future arrives tonight. A taste of home and my dearly departed are here to help me welcome it.