Hoping for a prosperous 2017

I think 2017 will be keen!

I plan on eating pork and cabbage on New Year?s Day to ensure good luck in the coming year. My old friend, Harold Sammons, told me about this superstition years ago. I tried it and it works. There has been growth, prosperity and happiness ever since.

Warning: don?t wait until the day before to buy cabbage, because the supermarket might be out. Corned-beef and cabbage on New Year?s Day is also a tradition, but it doesn?t have near the good luck power. I have had to settle for shredded cabbage or coleslaw when this happens, which works. After all, cabbage is cabbage.

Also, pork is pork. Even bacon, or ham, or pork rinds work. My favorite, however, is a succulent pork loin roast. Be sure to make gravy. I don?t know of any finer food than pork roast gravy over roasted potatoes. It?s like candy. In fact, it?s making me hungry right now, at 4 a.m. (I?m an early riser), just thinking about it.

And my favorite way to eat cabbage is boiled, slathered with butter. Coleslaw would be my second choice, but you can find coleslaw most anywhere. Cooked cabbage is a different story.

Ginnie has to work on both Christmas and New Year?s, so I will be the cook, and have the full-course pork-and-cabbage dinner waiting and smelling up the house when she arrives. The last thing she should have to do is cook after working all day. Buddy will be wagging his hind end off. He won?t know what to do, run to greet Ginnie, or wait in the kitchen for a scrap to hit the floor.

I?m a firm believer in what you do on New Year?s Day sets the tone for how you will spend the rest of the year. I plan on rising early, doing some reading, writing, exercising on the treadmill, cooking, doing some laundry, and, oh, yes, loving Ginnie?not necessarily in that order.

We?re gonna try our hand at raising chickens this spring. There?s a little shed out by the barn that should work fine for a chicken house. We?ll have both fryers and a few hens for eggs. Ginnie is a city girl, and has no idea how to go about raising chickens. I told her that she?s gonna have to do chores. She can gather the eggs, but she has to be fast, because the hens will peck her hand when she reaches in under them. She said there is no way she can do this. I told her not to worry, I?ve got a pair of welding gloves she can use.

We had our first garden this year. It was great fun driving up Gator loads of tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, pumpkins and elephant-trunk radishes. Ginnie made salsa. So, we?re going to double the size of the garden this year and really go to town. I have a tiller for the John Deere tractor, and might even do a little custom garden tilling. It ain?t spring unless you can get that rich, black Iowa soil under your fingernails.

Something else new for 2017, is that I?ll be conducting a writer?s workshop at the Presbyterian Church, in Mt. Pleasant, starting in January. I?ve always wanted to teach creative writing, and the Presbyterian Church has granted me the opportunity to terrorize a few people. You don?t really ?teach? creative writing. You just provide the setting and atmosphere for feedback and constructive criticism of one?s writing by the other participants. It?s as simple as that. There are a few pointers, but basically, like most things in life, it?s just a matter of getting after it. Everyone has a story.

Here?s hoping you have a happy and prosperous New Year. Don?t forget your pork and cabbage!

Have a good story? Call or text Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at or find him on Facebook. Swarm?s stories are also read on 106.3 FM in Farmington.