It may not have been the most exciting New Year's Days for me. I just couldn't wake up today. I usually can't, but when I realized that there were no parades and such stuff, I gave up and went back to bed. Why bother? I'm just a slug.
We did have the sauerkraut and sausage fest this evening. It's a German/Pennsylvania Dutch New Year's tradition. My family isn't overly German and not at all Pennsylvania Dutch, but my parents were both from Pennsylvania, and I guess that's where their families picked up the tradition. One Web site had this saying regarding the custom: "If on New Year's Day you serve 'Kassler (smoked pork chops) mit Sauerkraut,' so the saying goes, you will never run out of available cash." Another explains that the pork and sauerkraut tradition arose because "a Pennsylvania Dutchman would never dine on chicken on New Year’s because the bird scratches backward." I don't find that a very satisfying explanation, as it could just as easily be justification for eel and turnip casserole.
Perhaps the best explanation I found was from the University of Cincinnati Libraries
Pork & Sauerkraut are a main dish for New Years Day in the German heritage, as pigs are considered good luck charm symbols and cabbage leaves are symbolic of money, thus having pork and Sauerkraut are felt to be the best way to pave the way for the New Year. This goes back to the distant past when farm families who had a pig felt they were lucky enough to have one to feed their families during the winter. Pigs thus became good luck charms and were also used then for saving money in piggy banks. In German one says "ich habe Schwein gehabt," or I have had pig," which means colloquially that: I have had good luck!" Little pigs of cake or candy (marzipan - almond paste is popular) are also produced. The custom really demonstrates the ancient rural origins of this particular custom.
No marzipan piggies here, but plenty of pork and cabbage.
Tomorrow is the Virginia Tech bowl game, and it's time for me to pack up the car. We got the two big, heavy boxes in this eveningthe dishes. I'm always afraid that I'll never fit it all in. I usually end up in frustrated tears as I'm trying to pack. Fortunately, my mother sent the toaster oven to my house, so at least there's one less huge thing to fit in the car. Course there will also be crying because I'm leaving, but that's a different kind. I'm such a stupid baby.
This room is beginning to haunt me. Not in the 'oh no, there are ghosts under the bed' way, but in the way where I look around the room and see things that just make me sad and teary. Things with daddy's handwriting on them. His baseball glove. Books that he bought as he planned for retirement. He wanted to start a consulting company. He never got to retire. All these things he used or planned to use. This is his desk that I'm using. When I dug into the closet a bit ago to hang up some wet clothes I just washed, there were shirts and things that he wore. And I still haven't had the nerve to go check the urn. I know that when I touch it, I will cry. I cry thinking about it. I don't know how to do this anymore. Just seeing his handwriting on the labels on boxes kills me. How can I go check?
I told someone about a book that I'm reading, Donorboy
. The simple plot is that the teen's two mother's die and her sperm donor father is trying to raise her now. It's much more complicated, of course. But the relevant thing is that the father, speaking of his own mother's death, tells the young girl, "I find that even twenty-six years later, it hurts too much. It never really hurts any less; it just hurts less often" (34-35).
So if I believe that, I'm always going to be reduced to horrible, gut-wrenching tears. I'm going to be lying on that bed, look up and see that baseball glove on the top shelf and be unable to sleep for crying. I'll look in that closet again, and simultaneously want to take some of his shirt, but know that if I do, I'll cry when I try to wear them. I'll look across the room and see the books that evidence unfulfilled dreams and cry like it happened this afternoon.