Leila Case: There’s substance in southern traditions, superstitions

Published 10:30 am Monday, January 8, 2018

I didn’t know until this year that the old southern superstition of getting the Christmas tree out of the house by Jan. 1 had any real substance. That’s because I never tested it. It was always undecorated, and out the door by sunset on New Year’s Eve.
Believe me; I know firsthand that old saying has some truth in it. In my case anyway.
The wind was howling and the air temp falling rapidly by mid-afternoon on New Year’s Day when my trusty grandson John Barrett dragged the stately blue spruce tree onto the curb. We purchased it from John and Jim McNeill at Jam Spread on Upper River Road and for a month it made our home festive, emitting a Christmasy evergreen aroma. But I knew it had to go.
Shortly after the tree went out, the vacuum run and furniture back in place, I jumped into Miss Mini to make a grocery run but Mini didn’t budge — she just sat there. Stubborn like a mule. A quick diagnosis by John Morgan, who was out for a brisk walk with his wife Susan, stopped and asked if they could help. Of course they could. John took a look and surmised, “It may be a dead battery.” “Oh no,” I thought.  John went home, returned with his trusty Honda and “jump started” Miss Mini. John’s diagnosis was correct. A new battery was installed and I had time to cook the black-eyed peas — an old southern food tradition for New Year’s Day dinner that night.
Believe me; black-eyed peas bring good fortune because as we all know, unless you live under a rock, our beloved University of Georgia Bulldogs won the Rose Bowl, the championship football game against the University of Oklahoma. Oh, what a nail biter of a game. Bruce and I hollered so loud I think everyone at the game in Pasadena heard us.
Now the “Dawgs” face the University of Alabama for the National football title set for 8 p.m. Monday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. I think we may have black-eyed peas for dinner again.
UGA senior Caroline Carroll of Americus is a member of the Georgettes, the university’s elite dance team, and she has had an exceptional experience following the Dawgs to the games and cheering them all fall. Of course, she was there representing us on the field at the Rose Bowl and participated in the Parade. Besides dancing her heart out with the Georgettes, Caroline has been accepted in the UGA Walter F. George School of Law and will compete in the Miss Georgia Scholarship Pageant in June. Caroline is an achiever. She is the daughter of John and Beth Carroll. John was at the game, too, traveling with his friend, Curt Collier, of Athens.
Among other UGA fans I know were at the Rose Bowl was Dr. Lou Riccardi, among the biggest Georgia football supporters of all time. Returning home, Riccardi said, “The game was one of the finest I’ve seen and probably will go down as one of the best victories in UGA football history. Georgia played with a lot of resolve and never quit.” As for Monday’s game against Alabama, Riccardi said it all depends on Georgia’s defense because he feels Georgia’s offense is more diversified than theirs. With Riccardi were his wife, Candy Riccardi, and daughter, Dr. Alex Riccardi, and their friend, Wes Turner. Also attending were Morgan and Jimmy Whaley, Wes and Jean Wheeler, John and Lydia Ann Fowler, Hulme and Janet Kinnebrew, Jess and Mary Beth McNeill, Lee and Faith Pinnell and her sister and husband, Stephanie and Blake Bennett and son Perry. Matt and Robin Chandler-Morgan, Beth Carroll’s sister, Melody Morgan, and daughter, Rachel Morgan Rabe, and husband, Jarret Rabe and their daughter Lillian.
And there are many UGA supporters going to the Monday game in Atlanta including Lee and Faith Pinnell, Steven Pinnell and daughter, Mallory. We’ll be in front of the TV, and I’m sure will be very vocal.

Leila Sisson Case lives in Americus.