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Lynna Clark: Good Luck

Good Luck

We don’t have a lot of traditions in our family. Most of what we established as a young couple has long ago fallen by the wayside as our three daughters have married and started traditions of their own. But one thing we hold tightly to is the habit of eating beans and cabbage for New Year. Everybody knows that doing so insures lots of coins and cash for the next twelve months. And anyone who knows us has been witness to how well that works for our family.

[I really need a sarcasm font.]

Therefore, in order to keep any more financial crud from hitting the fan I proceeded to cook a big pot of white beans. Hopefully the good luck fairies were not already ticked off as I waited til January 2nd to do so. I had in fact started the process on the 1st by thawing out the hambone we’d saved from Christmas and the chicken broth David had frozen at some point. Both these items make a big pot of beans taste like manna from heaven. As stated before, we use white beans, either Navy or Great Northern rather than Pintos which tend to give us gas, and not the kind that currently sells for $2.39 a gallon.


The beans had simmered for hours and filled the house with a great aroma. Chunks of ham fell from the aforementioned bone with promises of yumminess. David made the slaw since he prefers his cabbage with mayo, vinegar, and a touch of sugar. His bowl of beans is capped off with a helping of slaw right in the middle so that the bean to slaw ratio is perfect. This one dish wonder is further perfected with cornbread. We happened to be watching America’s Test Kitchen while the beans simmered. The cooking wizards demonstrated how to bake the perfect cornbread. I did not however write down the recipe as I knew I could watch their technique then find the measurements online. Once they finished I went to my writing room, opened the laptop and noticed my email inbox was full. Plus a quick glance at Facebook revealed best wishes from friends and friends of friends as well as pictures of children of people I tried to remember; all celebrating Christmas and New Year with trips to grandmas everywhere.

David stepped into my writing nook and mentioned that the beans may need more chicken stock as they had cooked down to an occasional bubble which resembled a volcanic eruption. I hoped that wasn’t a sign of stomach issues to come. I closed the laptop, stirred the beans and praised God for keeping them from scorching. Apparently I had been sucked into the quicksand of social media for much longer than I realized. I took my beloved’s hand and asked if he was ready to eat. He knows that’s his cue to ask the blessing. He lovingly gazed at me with something akin to wonder. After forty some years of marriage I should have recognized that questioning look. What I mistook for admiration of my bean cooking skill was in fact his thinking face; as in, should he say out loud the question which swirled in his brain. Instead he prayed a sweet prayer asking God to continue to work in our lives in the coming year; for strength and healing; and a special thanks for blessing us and bringing us through one of the hardest times of our lives.

We dipped our beans, added the slaw and sat down to watch football. Something was amiss but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Once again chemo brain gave me the feeling that I was forgetting something. Finally I asked. “Does this taste okay? I think it’s missing something.

David looked at me with a smile. “It’s great!” he said between bites. “Even without the cornbread.”

Dagnabbit! I had looked forward to cornbread all day and somehow forgot to bake it. Oh well. At least the good luck fairies only care about beans and cabbage. Hopefully they were sufficiently appeased. In fact, maybe that’s what we’ve been doing wrong all these years. Maybe it’s the cornbread that’s been nullifying the coins and cash. I’ll let you know how this year goes. Perhaps we’ve finally stumbled onto the key to financial success.

But I have to say that at some point I’m going to bake some cornbread. After all, money’s not everything.

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