The plate was filled with collard greens, black-eyed peas, hog jowl and corn bread.

My mother always prepares the traditional Southern meal for the family.

We don’t discuss it. We know what the meal will be at our house on Jan. 1.  It’s expected. It’s a tradition.

This meal is supposed to be “lucky” and bring you money (collard greens) and coins (black-eyed peas). I’m not so sure about that but I do love eating it!

There are some things you just don’t mess with and this is one of those things.

Another tradition I look forward to is the annual New Year’s program in Jackson County.  This year, I went to the 93rd annual New Year’s Day program in Jefferson.

This program was first planned for elected officials to give thanks to God for their blessings from the past year and to pray for the new year.

I’m not surprised that elected officials started this program in 1927, but I am really impressed that it is still being held today.  Often-times, programs like this are forgotten.

Jackson County is fortunate that Billy Elder, J.T. Wilkes, Reba Parks, David Motes and now Don Moore have kept this tradition alive.

I first covered the New Year’s program in 1986 for the newspaper. It was the first event I covered for the newspaper. My mother framed that article for me.

I have covered the program many times over the years. It’s always different as various pastors have been invited to speak.  There have also been different singers on the program over the years.

I always get a blessing when I attend. I’m glad our early elected officials started this tradition and that it is still going today.

I was pleasantly surprised this year to see Roy Tarpkins on the program. Mr. Roy sang two songs. I wasn’t the only one in the audience who had a tear in my eye when he finished singing.

Mr. Roy works at the newspaper office with me. It was such a blessing to hear him sing. I knew he speaks at churches but I didn’t know he also sings.

After the program, I headed home where another tradition was waiting for me. That wonderful New Year’s Day meal that my family always looks forward to.

I hope you all have a wonderful 2020 and enjoy the traditions your family celebrates.

Angela Gary is an editor with MainStreet Newspapers Inc. She can be reached at

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