Thursday, December 31, 2015

Sauerkraut and Pork

This post is inspired by a prompt from Reflections of a Mother's Heart
The prompt was "New Year’s Traditions"

Pork and Sauerkraut

That’s pretty much what I think of when I think about New Year’s Eve.

It’s a German tradition which is supposed to give you blessings and wealth for the new year. At our house, it was eaten at midnight. I’m not sure that was part of the tradition or not.

What I do know is that we were blessed on the farm growing up. We may not have always had lots of wealth, but we had good friends. Friends that could be apart for a whole year, but pick up right where you left off when you got back together.

Mom and Dad had friends like that .. Ray and Joyce Mikulec. Mom and Joyce worked together at Timkin Roller Bearing back when Dad was studying at Ohio State University. Mom and Dad were away from family, so Joyce invited them to join them at church that first year. And so began a tradition of being together for many long years to follow.
Marcy's family 

I recall that it happened every year; taking turns for who would host. It was just a good time to get together with friends. Nothing special really. We played games until midnight and then brought the new year in by eating sauerkraut, pork (actually hotdogs), and mashed potatoes.

 at my Sister Marcy's house

Mom said one year, Joyce and Ray brought their family to the farm. We brought the new year in and played more games. It was 3am getting the kids settled and asleep. Dad said there was no reason to go to bed, since milking time was 5am. So the four of them went out and milked the cows!

Another time, Mom and Dad traveled down to Ray and Joyce’s. On the way, they noticed that a car had gone off the road into a ditch or culvert. Dad stopped and went to check on them. It was a bunch of guys. Mom says they were singing and pretty “happy” if you know what I mean. The neighbor called the police and since they seemed OK, Mom and Dad went on down the road.

For myself, I don’t have any specific memories with the exception that one year. Ray had recently heard Simon and Garfunkel’s song, Bridge Over Troubled Water. While it’s a secular piece, it had spiritual meaning to him. I’ve always agreed that the lyrics could come straight from God himself. It's a good song to listen to when times are troubled. 

Again, that move to Wisconsin changed things up for us and we never really had those special New Year’s Eves any more until 1989 ….

In 1989, I invited everyone down to Columbia South Carolina where Michael and I were married. We talked about serving Pork and sauerkraut. But Michael was a southerner, he had different traditions which included black-eyed peas and greens. And it was eaten on New Year's Day.

 My face is scrunching up even as I write about it! But that was a two way street because Michael wasn’t too thrilled with the sauerkraut idea either. We settled on finger foods. I guess we really should have served them both then we would have been guaranteed health, wealth, and happiness. 

Oh wait, we have that anyway!


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