I am ready for a new New Year’s tradition.
I was reminded I don’t have one when I received a photo this morning of a plate of black-eye peas and sautéed cabbage. My pal, Ayn, tells me some members of the Puerto Vallarta Yacht Club has adopted this Southern tradition for the last 13 years. She tells me the black-eyed peas represent a year of health and happiness; the green cabbage represents wealth and prosperity.
I had a long-standing New Year’s tradition begun soon after I arrived in the San Francisco Bay area in mid-December of 1988. I heard that the Mt Tamalpais Interpretive Association, a hiking club had an annual Hike to the Top of 2547′ Mt Tam. Dozens of people—a few with confetti in their hair and glitter on their face–mustered at the Pan Toll Visitor Center for the brisk stroll. That year it was triple-sweatshirt climate for this Florida escapee.
It was a strain for my pack-and-a-half-a-day lungs, and I remember a little snip of a lady in her 80s who passed me on the trail. She tossed me a backward look and a perfunctory, “Are ya’ doin’ OK, sonny?
I got a button that said, “I hiked to the top.”
It was a tradition I stuck with for the next 15-20 years. I led the hike one year. The week before the hike someone delivered a button-making machine. Designing and making the buttons was much more difficult than the hike, so I never sought the nomination for hike leader again.
One year amid windy, cold rain, no one showed up for the hike. I was the sole representative of the MTIA. The trails ran four inches deep with ice water. I saw only five other people on the trail that day, including one who was wearing shorts—who knew alcohol could serve as anti-freeze.
As I invite my inner muses to search for a new tradition for me on New Year’s Day, I wonder what interesting rituals there are among the passengers of the Jolly Swag.
Next year if I don’t have a better idea, I am heading for the Puerto Vallarta Yacht Club.