Happy New Year!

Very early in my career as the creator of Arlo & Janis, I ran afoul of my editor, Sarah Gillespie. The comics syndicate at that time was in New York City, where Sarah was born and raised. In a strip, I made a reference to eating black-eye peas on New Year’s Day. If I had said “gafelda fish,” Sarah wouldn’t have batted an eye, but she’d never heard of a tradition of eating black-eye peas on New Year’s. She was concerned newspaper editors would cast Arlo & Janis as a “southern” strip. Of course, Sarah was right to bring this up. It was her job, and she had a point I had never considered. Sarah was a sweetie, and ultimately she passed the peas reference. However, the little incident made me, a greenhorn, conscious of such things going forward. Today, my largest concentration of readers and, from what I can tell, enthusiasts is in the Northeast. Second would be the Midwest. Thank you, Sarah!

Today's "Arlo & Janis!"

30 thoughts on “Happy New Year!”

  1. Your retro strip is extremely appropriate both for me and for New Year’s Day.

    Lately, I find that the past keeps crowding its way into my mind, even though I don’t want to live there.

    And, thus, the common struggle has begun.

    • I know everyone assumes I have a groaning file cabinet of strips rejected for their salacious nature, but I don’t. There may have been a couple of strips censored very early on, but off the top of my head, I can’t think of one.

      • Definitively, being human is fatal — eventually. In the usual mortal coil sense at least, no matter from whence you hail.

        I know one of the hazards of an occasional anonymous post is being mistaken for another anonymous voice. But I sure wish I understood the intended humor here.

        Love all the kind posts of New Year’s goodwill. Echoing the same to you folks, with gratitude. Especially for Jimmy’s art and the blog he hosts. Joy and prosperity for all in the new year.

  2. From Michigan but in Florida for a few weeks and having black-eyed peas with ham hocks and collards tonight. At home it would have been pork and sauerkraut, a German-American tradition.

    • I’m from Alabama, but pork and sauerkraut sounds good to me! I never was much for black-eyed peas. Of course, family legend had it that some of us came from Germany.

  3. My Mom would soak navy beans from time to time and it was a great meal with ham, but I never associated it with New Year’s Day. When Jimmy Carter became President, we learned that black eye peas were good luck. I don’t go to the trouble of making black eye peas from scratch, but getting it out of a can with bacon still tastes pretty good.

    Today’s menu is black eye peas and biscuits and sausage gravy….the Rose Parade (which I have attended) and football.

  4. Black-eyed peas, turnip greens, cornbread, potato salad, country ham (salt cured), leftover ham pie, ham salad, (got to use up this Christmas ham),
    pecan pie, and layered lemon cake.

    Heart of Dixie ??

    Probably bread and water starting on Jan 2

  5. -25°F at sunrise this morning. Whatever is after that 25 was a degree sign when I typed this. Elaine & I were both from NY, then the most populous state in the Union, but moved here in ’58. Neither 1st nor 2nd place surprises me. Peace,

  6. I’ve never watched the Rose Parade in person, although I’ve lived most of my life in LA, and I lost interest years ago. I did, however, get to see the floats for the next few days from where I worked, including the one a friend of mine designed.

    And by the way, JJ, that’s Gefilte Fish.

  7. Southern boy here, too. Born in Arkansas, Army for 8 years after college, then the last 25 years in Texas. Black-eyed Peas with cheek bacon and cornbread for supper tonight before the Sugar Bowl. Probably have spinach as the greens, since I don’t have any collards or turnip greens handy.

    Hoping the Texas Longhorns don’t get pounded too badly by Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. From the first game in the FBS playoff, it looks like Clemson should have been playing the Bulldogs, not the Irish… I’m hoping Georgia doesn’t take ALL that frustration out on Texas.

  8. I am born and raised in the Midwest, Chicago then the suburbs all of my 67 years except for my time in the military. We had a few ‘Southerners’ around, I watched ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ and ‘The Real McCoys’, but my first real experience was at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. When I got off the Greyhound bus in Nashville I was in culture shock. People in spangled cowboy suits standing on a soapbox, strumming a guitar was not anything I had seen before. The Army had to teach me what ‘grits’ were. Next was Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and more culture shock. Still not your ‘deep south’, but close. So far they had all wore shoes…

    I’d guess I am 2 – 3 years older than you, but I am truly amazed at your strip, and have been since you started ‘Arlo and Janis’. I assume most of your work is at least loosely based on your own experiences. They could be mine. So much of your work relates eerily to my life, my views, and my loves. I’d have never guessed I’d have so much in common with anyone, let alone someone who grew up in a culture that is supposed to be so different from mine. This causes me to suspect we Americans have more in common and to be united about that our ‘leaders’ want us to know. I think they thrive on our divisions. It just might scare them to think I share views and beliefs with a ‘hillbilly’!
    Thank you for your work, and thank you for letting everyone know that it is better than just OK to be in love with your spouse. It is awesome.

    Have a very Happy and healthy and prosperous New Year!

  9. I was born in Florida, grew up in Virginia and Tennessee, and have lived in Texas for over 50 years. Grew up on fried chicken, ham, grits, turnip greens, and black eyed peas cooked with bacon, for New Year’s Day or any other day. But pork and sauerkraut were also in the rotation, along with corned beef and cabbage, pizza, and chili and tamales. At the time, I didn’t have any idea that we were so ecumenical in our diet.

  10. As a kid I thought sauerkraut was a tool my mom was using to make me appreciate liver and onions. Today I can’t imagine having a Polish dog without sauerkraut. It’s interesting how foods we detested as kids become favorites as adults.

  11. We’re doing all we can to make 2019 a good year. Pork in the slow cooker, tried some new canned beans – do we get “extra credit” for growing our own collard greens? Ham and black-eyed peas would have been on our New Year’s Day table when I was growing up here in Florida even though my dad’s family was from Pennsylvania. My mom’s family didn’t seem to have a lot of food traditions, possibly because her dad was from Alabama and her mom was born in France, was raised in Chicago, and was never much of a cook.

    Dennis: The military does have a way of broadening your horizons, doesn’t it. Imagine my husband’s culture shock going from pre-Disney central Florida to southern California in 1967. If nothing else, I guess you learned that TV sitcoms aren’t always reliable cultural references 🙂

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