Welcome to a new year, Dear Readers. I must say I’m ready for a new beginning. I did have a new book out in 2015, which is a good thing, but the end of the year was not all beer and skittles. One of my dear friends lost her husband in November, and just a couple of days ago my beloved sister-in-law, Don’s eldest sister, passed away. When you are young, death is a shock as well as a grief. When you are older, it’s less of a shock but still quite the grief. I suppose it happens, once you reach a certain age, that you begin to lose people with some regularity. Besides the fact of losing someone you love, there is the realization that the whole world you grew up in is passing away.
Well, as John Donne said, “Ask not for whom the bell tolls…”
On a more cheerful note, I’m about half-way through with the next Alafair novel, and hope to have the first draft more-or-less done by the end of the month. I don’t have as many events in January as I did in November and December, which is a good thing since if I was away from home as much I have been recently I’d NEVER get another book finished. Don and I had a nice Christmas. We finally treated ourselves to smart phones. I know. We’re way behind the times. But then I tend to live in the early 20th Century and we don’t have a ten year old around to bring us into the present day. This means that I may now have a smart phone but it’s going to take me forever to learn how to use it.
Let us all gear up for a happy and productive 2016, and my wish for you, Dear Reader, is that your sorrows be few and that you have many many good books to read. And in order to help you get the year started right, this month’s recipe is for the traditional Southern New Year’s good luck dish, hoppin’ john. When I was a kid growing up in Oklahoma, we always ate black-eyed peas and cornbread on New Year’s Day. Hoppin’ John is a little bit more elaborate that a simple bowl of black-eyed peas, but it does contain all the ingredients that will bring in a lucky year. Besides, it’s easy and delicious.