Rob Oxford: Happy New Year

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Eating black-eyed peas on New Year's
means good luck for the coming year
By Rob Oxford

When I was a youngster, celebrating the new year meant so many different things. Although it rarely happened, it meant being allowed to stay up late and watch Dick Clark's Rockin' New Years Eve.

It meant drinking a "fake" toast of grape juice at midnight with my parents. It meant watching my Dad prepare Black-eyed Peas, a true Southern tradition and knowing I could get away with eating just one single pea on New Year's Day in order to receive the luck it "held". 

It meant school was "out", it meant lots and lots of football and it meant making resolutions and promising the next year would be the best year ever. Then a couple days later, forgetting what it was that you had resolved to change.

It also meant everything from the previous year would be forgotten and erased from memory. I'm so glad that wasn't the case. Today I think back on those memories and realize the ability to remember my mistakes is precisely why I am where I am today. Married, the Father of two bright, loving, respectful children and by my own definition, successful.

When I got older, after the passing of my Mother, New Years Eve meant no matter where I was or what I was doing, be it on stage playing with my band, hosting a radio station event or being the low guy on the totem pole and keeping the radio station on the air, stopping just before midnight and calling my Dad. Usually waking him up from a deep sleep, but knowing that if I didn't call him both he and I would regret it in the morning.

I made so many mistakes growing up, said and did so many things I wish I hadn't, behaved in ways I can't imagine my children ever behaving. Luckily for me and for all of us, we were always forgiven. We were always blessed with that "new year" and the chance to start again.

So what does celebrating the new year mean now at 57 years old? It means trying desperately to stay up late and watch Dick Clark's Rockin' New Years Eve hosted by some guy with whom I have absolutely no connection.

It means now that I am sober, drinking a toast of grape juice at midnight with my wife. It means never having to eat another Black-eyed Pea as long as I live. It means lots and lots of football, letting my children decide how they want to celebrate their own New Year's Eve and looking forward to when school will start again.

It means being saddened by watching the "In Memoriam" segment honoring all those who we lost the previous year and it means wishing I could call my Dad. It also means being intelligent enough not to make resolutions I have the risk of breaking.

Finally, it means waking up to another day of life, being thankful for the air I breathe, the love of my family and friends, the people I meet and the prospects of changing my world for the better.

And most of all it still means sincerely wishing each of you a HAPPY NEW YEAR!


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