Drop the possum.

Every New Year’s Day my superstitious family eats black-eyed peas for luck, and cabbage for money.  It makes everyone gassy, but we still do it because we’re afraid of the demons which apparently punish you for…not having access to peas, I guess?  Still, it’s slightly more sane than other people’s New Year’s traditions (according to this company I know nothing about):

Related: Failing to hear animals having a conversation with you is also good luck in my family.  Or it’s a sign that you need more to drink.  Also, I don’t have a witty way to pull this post together because I’m on a lot of cold medicine, but maybe that’ll bring good luck for the new year.  Maybe being high on cold meds and only half-finishing blog posts are the luckiest ways to end the old year.  I’m so ahead of the game it hurts.

PS. I was just thinking that eating foods that make you super gassy on New Year’s Day is probably a good idea because we’re all hungover and feeling fat and grumpy and it gives us all a good reason to stay clear from each other.  There might be a kind of science to this after all.  Someone get me a possum.

217 thoughts on “Drop the possum.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. I tried to attach a picture of a possum for you that my friend’s dog caught. But my work computer wouldn’t allow that. Oh well. The picture was gross anyway. Possums are kind of gross too.
    Happy New Year! (early. cuz it’s not until Wednesday)

  2. Now I want to go to Scotland for New Years, and hope I’m not the tallest one in the crowd.

  3. I just shared my Hoppin John recipe – we eat the peas too but eat spinach instead so there’s less gassy-ness. Also? I can think of a few people I’d like to include in a village punch-up.
    Happy New Year 🙂

  4. I love Thai food, and knowing there is a 3-day water fight? Get me a fucking plane ticket!

  5. I found out today that doing the washing on new years day is bad luck, maybe that’s where i’ve been going wrong!!

  6. In defense of Brasstown, NC, the possum likes it. It’s their version of bungee jumping or ziplining. For entertainment, the poorer possums have to sneak in to human’s houses & scare the humans. It’s full of risk. At the possum drop, they get the thrill and then get to go home. I know, it’s not like having swimming pigs. Any port in a storm.

    (Our swimming pigs went out of business several years ago. I always wondered what they did with those pigs. True story. ~ Jenny)

  7. We eat the super gassy foods on Christmas Eve (Polish tradition). We also wash our hands with a silver dollar for the coming year’s good fortune. New Year’s Day we eat brunch in our pajamas. As it should be.

  8. I always heard that whatever you’re doing on New Year’s is what you’ll be doing for the rest of the year. So try not to get arrested, it could go badly. Maybe check with your local authority on the possum, but then again, you’re in Texas, so I’m sure it’s okay. Bombs, er, possums away!

  9. Now, it doesn’t say it has to be a =live= possum…you could get one of your glorious taxidermies (or, now here’s your mission for 2014–find a taxidermied possum for next new year’s!) and dress it up like the baby new year or something!! 😉

  10. Can you imagine a Possum Drop at Times Square? It would probably be a lot more interesting than a big, shiny ball.

  11. So, the Possum drop was a wrestling move I invented on my high school wrestling team. It didn’t involve being gassy though.

  12. Last year I couldn’t find any black eyed peas so I just listened to the Black Eyed Peas…that was a terrible idea. Oh and the German thing is true. Happy Gassy New Year!

  13. I’ve actually been to the Possum Drop in Brasstown, NC! It was quite the experience. We were there in 2004, and the possum being dropped (gently) in a plexiglass pyramid was still real (and kicking). Definitely one of the most unique ways to kick off the New Year!

  14. Possums! That’s where I’ve gone wrong in life!

    We’ve never been much of a New Years family. My grandfather passed away just after midnight on New Years when I was a child and there tends to be moodiness all around. But after the year I’ve had, I may stop tomorrow for some beans, greens and Amy’s Lentil Soup (canned counts, right?). I’ve heard figs, too.

  15. There are always lots of lawsuits to try to stop the possum drop, but this year a judge ruled that it was ok, and on it goes. They catch a wild possum, pop it in a plexi glass box, and lower it to the ground. Later they return it to the wild. Thanks, other places in NC, this is why people give me funny looks when I mention North Carolina. I’m sure you and Texas know nothing about that. 🙂
    Banging bread on the wall sounds messy. Fireballs over the head sounds dangerous and fun. And isn’t there something in Scotland about the first guy you see being the sort of guy you are going to marry? I had better go find some cute guys.

  16. We always made chinese food for ringing in the new year. I also listen to the animals but mostly because I’m pretty sure they understand me and will respond in kind eventually. I feel like diving into a frozen lake carrying a tree is a good way to make that year your last though…

  17. What you dont already have a possum on hand? I think i might possibly be slightly let down by this knowledge.

    On the other hand, just imagine how fun combining all the new years customs together, all at the same time would be. Now, that would be a celebration!

    I hope you get over your cold soon, in the meantime enjoy the high!

  18. There was a woman in South Carolina who stabbed her husband with a ceramic squirrel, but I don’t think it was a part of a New Year’s celebration. He just forgot to bring home beer. Think of the damage one might do with a ceramic possum! Oh…the possibilities!

  19. Unfortunately, the possum drop has been cancelled. It was on the local news here in Asheville. PETA caught wind of the event & was all, “NUH UH” about it.

  20. Well, now I just feel lame. I mean, all we do here is *try* to stay up until midnight.

    I might have to hunt up a possum, though. That just sounds like fun!

  21. I have never heard of that bread thing. Like, ever.

    It does make us sound like mental patients, so it might be true for all I know. I prefer to use my bread for sandwiches, but I’m weird like that. *shrug*

  22. Next New Year’s, my butt’s going to be in Thailand. Those people know how to get it done!

  23. If I don’t get out of this house soon, I’m going to start throwing possums at my family. And they are not even gassy. My family, I mean. I don’t know about possums.

  24. As a fairly new North Carolinian (11 yrs) the fact that there is an event called a possum drop and that it is a New Years tradition does not surprise me in the least. Native North Carolinians are also the seventh worst drivers in the nation. It is a state filled with the odd and the strange for sure.

  25. I knew I must’ve done something wrong this year. I’ll have to run to the store and buy some cabbage and black-eyed peas.
    Happy Belated Birthday! I hope you’re over your cold in time for the New Year..

  26. Can you imaging the news if there was a possum dropped anywhere in Travis County? Too many people hear talking animals in Austin to think that is anything special for New Years.

  27. About 20 years ago, my brother and I were entranced by a Dewar’s ad about First Footing and Hogmanay that purported to explain the custom, but was *such* a Dewar’s ad that we still mock it today. I wish I could find it to post it somewhere, but alas, it was 20 years ago. Maybe more.

    Sorry, Dewar’s. But your ad really did suck.

  28. I have conversations with animals all the time. I’m not going to give it up just because Romania says it’s bad luck. Fuck off, Romania. Maybe if I bang on the walls with bread at the same time it’ll all even out. Because THAT’S NOT CRAZY, IRELAND.

  29. As a matter of fact… here in Germany they have 3 days to buy as many fireworks as they possibly can.. big ones too, shit you can’t find in the states unless you’re a licensed professional, and they get it at the grocery store… and then you spend New Years eve trying not to burn the neighbors house down and showing little kids how to play with lighters and firecrackers. It’s freaking awesome. So sad this is my last year here. You haven’t lived life until you’ve shot 20 rockets out of a beer crate (usually after drinking the 20 beers in the crate).

  30. All we do in MN Is hide from the freeze-your-ass-off below zero cold. I keep wondering if sticking my hand out the window while driving will cause my fingers to just shatter like liquid nitrogen…

  31. I feel like failing to hear animals talking would be especially good luck in a family so fond of taxidermy.

  32. Here, in Nova Scotia, we have a polar bear dip. No, we don’t hold a polar bear by his heal and dunk him in the water. Duh! That would be silly. Instead we strip down to our bathing suits on a freezing cold, sometimes snowy, January 1st, and jump in an ice cold lake or harbour. Great way to get rid of a hangover…or stop your heart.

  33. I don’t know that it’s a coincidence that the Ireland is the birthplace of schizophrenia and we bang out heads against walls. Between that the alcoholism, the melanoma, and all the bad lyrical poetry, it’s no wonder that we breed like rabbits, so that we have a snowballs chance in hell of not going extinct.

  34. Parading down the street swinging balls is a tradition known as streaking. Now, the fire is a little odd I’ll give you that. Even more peculiar, usually the balls swing UNDER the head, like over it sounds awfully painful.

  35. What is it with the gassy foods? Pork and cabbage with my family. Sometimes there is the lighting of farts, but that can be any day, not just New Years…

  36. They failed to mention how they celebrate New Year’s in Key West. They drop a drag queen in a shoe from the balcony of a bar. For real.

  37. Oh and ‘Dinner for One’ (the German thing) is about a 90-year old woman who’s having a dinner party but all her friends are dead and not really there. The butler plays along and gets hammered by drinking all the ‘not really there’ people’s drinks. It’s hil-AR-ious – if you’re into that kind of thing. Happy New Year, your friends are dead and your butler has alcohol poisoning. Prost!

  38. My grandmother always said to eat ham or pork on New Year’s Day because “pigs don’t walk backwards.” Miss that lady!

  39. At least in Argentina the tradition is to wear new underwear on NYE, and if you’re a girl, it has to have some pink.

  40. And here I am thinking about which bread would be most efficacious at scaring away bad spirits …. definitely not Wonder Bread, perhaps soda bread or a baguette.

  41. I have lived in North Carolina for 20+ years and have never heard of the “possum drop”………thank goodness!!!

  42. In Latvia (Australia) we have an expression for what comues after the gassy cabbage. It translates as ‘Pulling a Tooth Out’ or Fart (Barf…) or ‘blame it on the dog’ (Get Out Rover)…..Get Out! Before He Shits All Over You

  43. You left out the one where the entire city pours into a square, usually in sub-freezing temperatures and then at midnight, a giant ball comes crashing down on the roof and everybody makes out with total strangers while launching bits of torn up paper into the sky.

    That’s my hometown weird…and you just gotta embrace it.

  44. This year I am volunteering with Designated Drivers of Colorado Springs. We will pick up tipsy partiers at local establishments and drive them and their vehicle home. Most of the time, they want us to drive them to the next party, but we can’t do that. I feel like I’m doing my part to keep the roads safer on a lousy night.

    Have a Happy New Year!

    Be safe out there.

  45. I was wrong about Montgomery. Apparently they stopped that, but the city of Mobile drops a Moon Pie. Which is also weird.

  46. OK, I’m a few days off and off topic to boot, but did you ever find any loverly books to read you can tell us about?
    happy new possum,

  47. Perfect timing. We’re looking for a new holiday tradition to experiment with considering we’ve discovered an unfortunate allergy to beans in our household. Go figure.

  48. Oh My Gosh! I just saw the taxidermied mouse chess set (#36 above) That is fabulous!!

  49. #7 is what we in Canada like to call Boxing Day 🙂
    Also, my honey and I got married in Thailand around New Years (Which is in April there, by the way). The water fights were EXCELLENT!!! We stood in the back of a pickup truck with water guns and garbage bins full of water to refill. We drove around town shooting passers by and getting hosed in return. The traffic cops were drenched, but didn’t seem to mind because it was like 40 Celsius (104-105 F). Crazy good times!

  50. I’ve heard about the Peruvian one! It’s supposed to be a time where you punch out all your problems with people you have them with so that you can start the new year on a clean slate… or something.

  51. As an Irish person, I’d just like to point out that I have never in my life even heard of that supposedly ‘Irish’ tradition. Which makes me sad, because that giant water fight sounds like the best reason ever to go to Thailand, but now I’d be worried that such a thing doesn’t actually exist and it’s really all just a marketing ploy by the Thai tourist industry.

  52. A moon pie is most definitely dropped in Mobile. They have musical acts and it’s on tv all over the state. Sort of like Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin’ Eve but more redneck. 🙂

  53. I’m down for number 4, 8, and 10. Problem is, it would be my furniture that I’d have to clean up in my yard, so I’ll just stick with 8 and 10, which sorta cancel each other out.

    To cut down on the gassiness, maybe you could eat cabbage while listening to the Black Eyed Peas.

    BTW: Spell check says there’s no such word as gassiness. It’s obviously never been around my family on Chili Night.

  54. I think perhaps the Scottish one might be wrong. I’ve yet to see anyone swinging fire above their heads, although maybe I just go to the wrong places. In Scotland it is tradition to drink too much on the 31st and the 1st then suffer horribly on the 2nd. At least that’s how I explain the fact that the 2nd is a public holiday in Scotland while it isn’t in the rest of the UK. We need more drinking time!

  55. Thinking of you Jenny!

    RALEIGH — A judge ruled Brasstown’s annual possum drop can go forward Monday.

    The group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sued to stop the capture and display of a live possum during the western North Carolina mountain town’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration.

    The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission on Friday issued a permit allowing the organizer to capture the animal.

    The General Assembly this year passed a law allowing licensed sportsmen to hold animals for display as long as they are returned to the wild when the event is over.

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    (Copyright ©2013 ABC11-WTVD-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved – The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  56. My friends and I had an awesome New Year’s Eve tradition when I was younger. We’d take plastic sporks and stand them up-right in peoples’ lawns with such crafty messages as, “Take us to your leader.” People left them up for days because they were amused by them. Or they were too hung-over from the festivities to remove sporks from near-frozen ground.

  57. A lot of countries throw old things (like furniture) out the window. I guess it’s sort of an “out with the old, in with the new” thing. I spent NYE in Naples, Italy, a few years ago and the locals were shooting fireworks out of the windows and off their balconies and throwing just about anything they didn’t want into the streets. There was a shattered television outside our hostel entrance on January 1st.

  58. As much fun as #10 sounds, I’m going to go with # 4. What better way to usher in the New Year than letting your neighbors know how you REALLY feel about them?

  59. I can confirm the Scottish fireballs thing is real, the fireballs festival is held in Stonehaven. They swing the fireballs through the streets and throw them into the harbour. Personally, I think first-footing is weirder – the first person to come into your house (who mustn’t live there or be a guest already there) must have coal in their pocket. If they have ginger hair, you’ll have bad luck all year.

    I also like to think we need two days off afterwards to recover because we have to celebrate New Year’s Eve and Hogmanay at the same time, so we need to drink double. :-p

  60. Last year my sister-in-law’s family was visiting from Costa Rica, and everyone had to run around the house with suitcases at midnight – to ensure that there’d be traveling in the New Year. I don’t remember whose idea that was – there are Colombian, German, Costa Rican and Pennsylvanian influences at work here.

  61. I’d be down for that punching one. My new hipster neighbor enjoys loud — LOUD — atonal singing in the poorly insulated house we share. Or maybe I’ll just tape a bunch of bread around his doorway.

  62. I was going to defend number nine, because I’ve watched it every year, all my life, and it still makes me laugh so hard I can’t breathe. It’s probably the combination of alcohol and some kind of pavlovian reflex.

    Then I read Julie You Jest’s explanation and I realized it sounds like all of Germany is sitting in front of the TV, going “HAHA, all your friends are dead!”. And… that’s kind of what it is.

    Okay, fine. We’re weird. You bet your ass I’m still going to watch tomorrow.

  63. We make Portzelky (or oliebollen in Dutch) – heavy dough deep-fried and then rolled in icing sugar! Lecker! Many good recipes online…would just continue that gas-fest into the dessert course!

  64. Just checked the local paper but I couldn’t find anything about a possum drop. Heading out to the local coffee shop to check the cork boards. I don’t want to miss the local color.

  65. Dinner For One is also a Nye tradition in Australia, SBS have played Dinner For One every NYE for as long as I can remember, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen it and it still makes me laugh hysterically. The lead actor Freddie Frinberg(I think) was a comic genius.

    I certainly wouldn’t want to drop an Australian possum on anyone, those things got nasty claws and they poop a the drop of a hat.

  66. I live about 30 minutes away from Tallapoosa, GA where they do a “possum” drop at midnight. No lie. They use a stuffed possum that they SAY was found dead in the woods… but that is probably just what they advertise to keep PETA from going all rabid on them.

  67. Actually “Dinner for one” is not about a lonely dinner, but about alcohol and a dead tiger. So while it may seem strange for the rest of the world, it is totally appropriate for this blog.

  68. I’m from Germany and I can totally confirm the Dinner for One tradition.
    I’ve watched the sketch every new year’s eve as far back as I can remember and have managed to get a copy even after I moved to the US.
    I’ve found the version we see – here it is:

    The introduction for this one is in German as it was filmed for German television.
    The basic story is simple: Miss Sophie invites her four best friends to her birthday every year. Unluckily, one after the other, they’ve all died. So now her butler James has to play their roles to enable her to still have a lovely birthday dinner… while serving the food and drinking in their place.
    Comic genius!
    What it has to do with New Year’s Eve – no idea. But it’s tradition and I’m planning on still showing it to my children down the road too 😉

  69. Germany is so random. And you don’t need a possum. They’re pretty gross and nasty with large teeth and big claws. As a child when we’d see them at night, hanging from trees by their little rat tails, they would hiss at us. They do play dead though, which is pretty funny.

  70. Hogmanay in Scotland is freakin’ awesome, I highly recommend it to the hard partying types. The best NYE tradition I’ve ever heard of is my friend Jenny’s family gets together and drinks all night long while airing grievances from the past year and undecorating their Christmas tree (undecorating is TOO a word spellcheck, suck it), and around midnight they drag the tree out onto their 2nd story deck, light it on fire and toss it out in the snowdrifts in their back yard and howl like wolves. I’m sure their neighbors are all really jealous of them.

    My plans usually involve napping and staying home to avoid “amateur night” disasters.

  71. we don’t have any new year’s traditions, really. we consider ourselves lucky if we make it to midnight then fall into bed. i have a feeling this new year’s day will be spent taking down all the holiday crap around the house.

    happy holidays, folks!

  72. When we were younger (and could actually stay up that late) my Mom would take us out to the horse barn at midnight on Christmas Eve because there was a Bible story she had heard when she was young that said that particular hour was “magic” and the animals would be able to speak. Never happened, but was still cool.

  73. I wish my dead relatives would stay in the graveyard where they belong. Nothing worse than an unwelcomed dead Aunt chastising your holiday meal.

  74. New Zealanders believe that you have to bring in the New Year with a seven-day festival of Cricket that includes not one single second of actual sport.

    All things considered, I’d prefer the peas, cabbage and gas.

  75. holy jesus. diving into a frozen lake carrying a tree? but then I guess Siberia is known for it’s good times, eh? happy new year! i’ll be gassy and hungover – avoiding others, too!

  76. Hell, that possum drop is practically in my backyard (give a take an hour or so)! C’mon on down (or it that up?), we’ll roadtrip!!

  77. We had a pet possum. He was cute, I gave him a bath in Ivory dish soap. He eventually escaped. I wished him well. They are not gross.

  78. In light of Miley’s unawesomeness, I’m kinda partial to parading the streets with balls of fire

  79. the most bizarre tradition:
    making a list of things to do for the year to become a better person, but not doing them (America)

  80. We talk for our animals. The Fox Terrier has a Northern English accent, the Chihuahua a Mexican accent, the German Shepherd talks like Scooby Doo and the Australian Terrier has a Scottish accent. We try not to do it too much when our friends are visiting. Happy New Year!

  81. I read about the NC possum-drop thing a couple days ago, and didn’t find it the slightest bit odd or off-putting. Meh. Maybe I’ve been reading your blog for too long.

  82. I’ve lived in Texas more than 4 years and have yet to see a live possum or armadillo. I’m starting to believe both are actually mythical creatures and I’m pretty sure, at this point, that armadillos are naturally flat creatures that live on the road.

    Throwing furniture out the window and a “village punch-up” just sortve sound like “Saturday Night in my Neighborhood”, but maybe that’s how the neighbors who apparently don’t work scare up the luck to continue living here.

    I’d be willing to eat the black-eyed peas, but I’m allergic to cabbage… which might be why I live in a place where throwing furniture out windows is par for the course!

  83. So, I apologize if someone’s already mentioned it: In Cuba (and I think maybe in other Latin American countries), the tradition is to eat 13 Grapes at midnight—1 for each month of the New Year plus one extra for extra luck.

    Years ago, I went to my BFF’s new townhouse for NYE and her next door neighbors were banging on various walls (we were quietly playing Trivial Pursuit and not making any noise). We decided that they must have a tradition of hanging PANELING for New Years. We still ask each other if the other is planning on hanging any paneling to celebrate!

  84. In this part of the South it’s black eyed peas, cornbread and collard greens, not cabbage. Slightly less gassy, but stinks up the housejust as much while cooking. Also, in Atlanta they slowly drop a giant peach, mimicking NYC’s ball. If that were followed by peach cobbler for everyone, I’d be into it!

  85. I was kind of hoping to find Rouketopolemos on the list. but after I went back and looked it up, it seems its an Easter tradition. Basically, rival neighboorhoods on the Greek island of Chios fire rockets at each other’s churches trying to hit the belfry. as the churches are only 400 yards away from each other, you would wonder why the neighbor hood, let alone the churches haven’t all been burnt down, especially as they miss. badly. and they used to allow real cannons! sadly, they took that tradition away. imagine what Texans would do to this tradition if it ever caught on here.

  86. I vote that throwing furniture out the window is the weirdest thing to do on New Year’s Eve. Or ever. Unless you a really jerkface landlord and this is your way of evicting someone who is behind on the rent. Then it is perfectly understandable. Still jerky, though.

  87. I think I’ll convince my 15 year old that it’s an honored tradition for the youngest son to cook breakfast for the family on new year’s day of his 16th year.

    I doubt he’ll go for it.

  88. Hmm, not sure if I want to toss furniture out my window, or swing balls of fire over my head. Maybe I could compromise. I could toss the furniture, and then swing the fire ball into the furniture, and create a bonfire for the evening. That might actually work…

  89. They replaced the possum with an acorn. The acorn drops (or lights, not sure) in Raleigh to count in the New Year. Kinda like a NYC apple drop, but with an acorn. I bet the ASPCA had something to do with this. BRING BACK THE POSSUM! Signed: Now disgruntled NC three year resident, then disgruntled 20 year NYC resident.

  90. Mine is probably the lamest: stay home, get drunk alone, and order pizza. Tip the pizza guy outrageously, or double-outrageously if he’s hot.
    I like to keep things simple.

  91. My husband hails from Kennett Square, Pennsylvania which is known as the mushroom capital of the world, and they are dropping a 7 foot tall mushroom this year.

  92. “Dinner for One”, the lonely, strange, british TV comedy that is a staple of German New Years Celebrations! I can relate to that – It is indeed a tradition in my home country. It’s black and white, it’s not thaaat funny but it’s tradition. And it’s broadcasted on every single station at least once during 12/31.I have to admit that I can’t be without it and will introduce another set of Americans to this strange German tradition tomorrow. Thank you, youtube! 😉

    P.S. I wish I could throw a possum…

  93. This really has nothing to do with anything. But I just watched a TEDTalks with Mary Roach: 10 things you didn’t know about orgasms. If you haven’t seen it; I feel it is right up your alley. She talks about the clitoris of pigs in it. So good!

  94. I’m going with 2. If you don’t hear animals talking it’s lucky. If you do – well, wow! Talking animals! That’s got to be a money maker. It’s a win either way.

  95. Hey, in Texas just exchange the possum for a armadillo and your good. They’ll even roll up in a ball for you, you could bounce them like a yoyo. They’d love it

  96. Our (Welsh) custom is to lay silver on a window sill before midnight. It collects the good luck of the New Year night, and you keep it in your pocket all year long. Have a blessed New Year, Jenny. You deserve all the happiness in the world.

  97. Well plus being gassy helps you feel less bloated, win win probably. I’d love to have a 3 day water fight but not in 15° weather, damn I need to move to Thailand

  98. As a Scot, I can confirm that I have never heard of or seen No. 8 (parading the street while swinging balls of fire over your head). I’m struggling to think of anyone in my acquaintance who could be trusted not to set the town on fire.

    I have however encountered the Scottish custom of “first footing”, where the first person over your household threshold just after midnight at the start of the new year should be a tall, dark, handsome man bringing coal, bread and whiskey, which is good luck and prosperity for the year ahead 🙂

  99. The Possum Drop was in serious trouble…but PETA decided it was perfectly ok to catch a possum, drop it humanely inside a suspended box, then release it back into the wild. Apparently putting a possum in a box and dropping it is humane, while capturing one and feeding it well before AND after dropping it within the box is just too stressful for the poor possum. It’s a possum. They play roulette with cars for fun.

  100. I think #4 combined with #7 sounds like a fantastic New Year celebration. Plus I’ll have started on the “decluttering” resolution. Win/win!

  101. Um, pretty sure that #2, #4, and #8 happen far more often in my city than just on New Years.

    Hope you heal up soon– but enjoy that cold medicine. Do let us know if you have any trippy dreams. I can interpret them for you as a belated birthday/christmas gift.

  102. Back in ’04/’05, I ended up in the ER at Massachusetts General Hospital with what I thought was a diverticulitis flare, but which turned out to be a cyst on my right ovary the size of a kiwi fruit (the cyst, not my ovary; ovaries are normally about the size of an almond). It came to pass that I rang in 2005 flat on my back, feet in the stirrups, craning my neck to watch the ball drop in Times Square on the TV in the corner of that particular bay, while getting a pelvic exam…you can’t make this shit up, I promise.

    Now, my mother is 1/2 Scot, and is fond of reminding me that the first person over your threshold after midnight should be a dark-haired man for good luck, and my friend Julia knows this, so when I called her to give her an update on my condition (they let me out of the hospital at 2 a.m., and it turns out a hospital is a GREAT place to find a cab on NYE!), she wanted to know what color hair the doctor had…he was balding, but what was left was indeed dark. “Ah,” she said, “so you DID have a dark-haired man crossing your threshold at the stroke of midnight!” Yes, Julia, I suppose you could say I did… (A few days after telling my mom the tale, she called me back to let me know that “when I told your father you spent New Year’s Eve flat on your back with a doctor between your knees, he started planning your Big Fat Irish Wedding!” Gotta love my family…)

    Happy New Year to you and yours, and happy (belated) birthday, Jenny! *hugs*

  103. Holy crap, the Possum Drop! This happens near where my parents live and I’m visiting this year and we’re totally doing this! They’ve never been but everyone around here in the mountains knows about it. I’ll take pictures, and maybe this’ll prompt a new blog post after a 9 month hiatus. Thanks for the smile, Jenny 🙂

  104. Port Clinton, Ohio (on Lake Erie) drops a 20 ft. 600 pound fiberglass walleye built by a taxidermist. Tell me you don’t want to stand in below-freezing weather to watch that happen, and I’ll call shenanigans!

  105. Hi Jenny! Just in the middle of reading Let’s Pretend… HILARIOUS! Long live you and Victor– get yourselves a TV show!! Thanks for all the laughs– and I hope you enjoy your new decade! xxxLisa (A Little Less of Lisa: lisamayer.blogspot)

  106. I can solve part of the gas problem for you (I too come from one of those family’s who do the black eyed peas and cabbage thing). If you take and bring the dried, soaked peas (or frozen black eyed peas) to a boil and pour off that first water – refill and continue in the normal fashion – pouring off that first water DOES “somehow” work at reducing the gas produced when you eat the beans. (works for reds beans – for red beans and rice). (and just an FYI in the same vein – for potatoes – if they have that “green” just under the skin – cut as much off as possible, then bring to a boil and pour off the first water, refill and bring to a boil and finish normally – they won’t cause the “runs” that the “green” sometimes will do to people.) Happy New Year!

  107. The opossum drop is incredibly cruel. If you know anything at all about opossums, you would know that they are extremely shy, retiring animals who can easily die from stress. Grabbing one from the wild, holding it in a cage in public for a week, with nowhere for it to hide and not being fed proper food, then taking dragging the box up above a screaming crowd with fireworks going off… opossums can get something called “capture myopathy” which basically means that they die of stress. Once that opossum has been released back into the wild, chances are high that it just goes off into the woods and dies from the trauma of everything that has happened to it. I don’t care if it’s “tradition”, there’s no excuse for being needlessly cruel to a benign, harmless animal.
    And no, before someone says it – opossums do not carry rabies. In fact they are immune to rabies and to almost all viruses. They are also exceptionally clean little animals and are great to have in your garden because they eat slugs, snails, and other garden pests. They are the only marsupial native to the Americas; the only north American mamma with a fully prehensile tail, and they have opposable thumbs on their back feet. They are amazing little creatures.

    I suggest dropping a box of newborn kittens instead. The shelters are overflowing with cats, after all, so if they die it won’t be any great loss or anything.

  108. And PeTA did NOT decide it was okay. They lost their suit to have it stopped. We will try again next year. (No, I’m not part of PeTA because they are basically wackos, but I am pretty opposed to animal abuse.)

  109. The places in Siberia where I’ve been have actually been pretty much Party Central. On somebody’s birthday I ended up drinking Armenian brandy out of a plastic washbasin, and New Year’s is the biggest party of the year, so, yeah, if someone invites me to go to the frozen lake with a tree, I’m gonna go.

  110. I didn’t read the other comments, so I do t know if this has been said yet, but #9 is definitely true. It’s called Dinner For One and I’m sure we will be watching it tonight. :-/ Happy New Year!

  111. In some parts of Nevada, people think that if they drink beer and whiskey at they same time on New Years Eve, they will get good luck. It’s surprising how much stuff there is out there that people fall for!!

  112. If you’ve never seen Dinner for One, the British sketch so dear to us Germans, you’re totally missing out!

  113. @Emma in France — holy heck that sounds like the most awesome tradition ever. I am really not sure I’m going to be able to find a mare’s skull by tonight but I think I know what’s happening next year. Complete with Punch and Judy. They are so creepy. I love it.
    Every year I try out some new tradition because I don’t think I’ve figured out the right way to do New Year’s yet. I’ll probably just light something on fire.
    Feel better soon Jenny!

  114. “Cold Medicine: The Beverage of Champions?”

    Get well soon, Jenny. In a world of filthy-rich, ignorant, homophobic rednecks with a pulpit from which to preach to millions, we need you more than ever.

    Sorry, this whole A&E/Duck Dynasty thing has me seeing red – which really sucks when I’m driving. At any rate, I hope you can enjoy the ringing in of the new year. I’ll be up to my scrawny neck in tourists, so you know I’ll be having fun…

    All the best, folks.

  115. I heard a good one this week. Do things on New Year’s Day that you want to do all year long. Sleep, eat well, have great sex ,and work ( a little tiny bit). I thought this… is my weird italian , HIGHLY SUPERSTITIOUS MIND… made total sense.

    I told my husband to just plan on not wearing pants on account of all the food and sex we are going to have. After 17 years of marriage, I got an eye roll and a sarcastic “oh boy”. Clearly, he is a dream killer.

  116. OH! This happens at my friend Clay’s store! (The possum thing.) They catch a nice possum, feed it cat food on the days leading up to the drop, and then lower it in a cage. They also have the Little Miss Brasstown Pageant, which is a bunch of rednecks in drag trying like the dickens to win the title.

    The one year that PETA got the possum drop shut down for cruelty to animals, they went and got a roadkilled possum, shampooed it and put it in the cage. It took a lot of fun out of it, especially for all the candidate possums who didn’t get to eat cat food for a week. Cat food is evidently good eatin’ for a possum.

    I really want to go to the drop someday. You should absolutely go, Jennifer. I think you’d fit right in–tell Clay that Casey sent you!

  117. #3 is probably the weirdest. And I’m Irish! My first thought was why waste good bread by banging it one the walls? Maybe it’s old bread …

  118. My birthday is on January 1, so we traditionally eat birthday cake. I rarely have a party though, everyone is partied out from Christmas and my sister in law’s “New year’s Eve eve” (Reveillon in French). It’s kind of depressing if I stop to think about it, so I don’t. Happy New Year to everyone!!

  119. Eating a pink pig made of almond paste. Not sure exactly why it’s lucky, but it’s almondy luck. I’ll probably have lentils for dinner, too.

    Happy birthday, Michelle C!

    Happy new year, everyone!

  120. PS: Michelle C, you need to have half-birthday parties. Seriously. Celebrate in June sometime and invite everyone and get presents. A party somewhere between Memorial Day and July 4th. Do it next year! It will be fun!

  121. Happy New Year!! My old tradition was to drink till I puked, but now that I am mature and all, I eat LOBSTER dripping in butter and then I drink till I puke. Always a good time.

  122. In my early 30s, I used to go to a friend’s party where we all made fireballs at midnight.
    This involved spitting mouthfuls of grain alcohol through a lighter, while the others changed “Fireball!”
    The tradition ended after my friend spilled some grain, wiped his face, and burned off his eyebrows when he lit up.
    Of course there were pictures, and we all have kids, so I expect the tradition will be revived in about 18 years…

  123. The possum drop is back on. PETA stopped it one year because it was illegal to drop a possum without a permit, and the law didn’t allow permits to be issued for possum dropping. The legislature went in and made issuing a permit for “The taking and holding in captivity of a wild animal by a licensed sportsman for use or display in an annual, seasonal, or cultural event, so long as the animal is captured from the wild and returned to the wild at or near the area where it was captured.” legal.

  124. I wouldn’t want to be the person tasked with catching the possum for the drop. Possums are nasty and mean. There was one that hung out under the suet feeder I set out for the birds. When I went to refill the seed feeders it hissed at me and chased me back to the porch.

  125. The gas is the demon, thanks for the laugh. Great post. I’ve recently started reading your blog and find your writing entertaining.

  126. MaryEllen: I do not know where you’ve met your possums…but the ones we have here in Alabama (which, ironically enough, I think are Virgina possums) are NOT sweet, shy and clean. They are mean, they stink, they are NASTY and big ones are actually a huge threat to housecats.

  127. Ahhh. Possums. The scariest animal in the entire universe. Between that and the inability to find cake or a deli… North Carolina I need more to visit again. We just find a babysitter for the kiddies and go out for a peaceful dinner. Somehow that became exciting.

  128. HAHAHAHA! I would LOVE to go to Thailand for New Years! Imagine how much i could do with Nerf SuperSoaker water guns, water balloons and people from Nerf Club teaming up with me! :O I’D BE THE LUCKIEST OF THEM ALLLLL!!!!! MWAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!!!!

    i’d definitely add that adventure and the graveyard one to my life list! a sort of holiday experience!

    Happy New Year everyone! *SOAKS YOU ALL!*

  129. Mr Puppy – an Okie by blood and tradition, taught this to me when we first met, 30+ years ago. Only he insists that it be eaten as the last meal of the year – New Year’s Eve, as well as New Year’s Day. I usually make cornbread (in a cast iron skillet, of course) to go with.

    Now I’m really hungry, lol.

    Hippo Gnu Deer!

  130. Was reading this to the family and my husband walked over,grabbed the load if wonder bread and whipped it at the wall.

    Bad spirits gone!

  131. I’ve worked with opossums for 20+ years. The hissing, drooling, and lunging are all part of a threat display designed to keep predators away. Sometimes it works too well and people think that opossums really are mean and diseased. They are not. If an opossum is “chasing” you, you’re basically running screaming like a little girl from an animal that barely has the jaw strength to break skin even if it did bite you, which is almost unheard of anyway. It’s all a big scare tactic to get you to go away. They are not a threat to cats, or dogs, or people. They spend long amounts of time each day grooming themselves, so no they are not ‘dirty’. And no, cat food is not ‘good eating’ for opossums. They like it but it’s bad for them, and eating nothing but cat food for a week puts strain on their kidneys, because it is too high in protein. Fooling yourself into thinking it is “fun” for the opossum is just giving yourself an excuse to abuse an animal who never hurt anyone.

    Like I said, I strongly suggest newborn kittens instead. They are easier to find, will probably be entertaining what with the yowling and crying, and they grow up to be vicious killers of lovely songbirds, so the fewer of those monsters we have around, the better.

  132. The “Possum Drop” is inhumane. If you look at the photos the opossum has crispy ear which is caused from stress and poor diet. He also rubbed all the skin off his snout trying to escape. Imagine a nocturnal animal who prefers quiet being held in a cage for two hours above a screaming crowd with loud music, loud speakers and fireworks.

  133. Our family tradition is to eat dragon eggs and carry flaming, pointy sticks through the streets, chanting, “Kill the beast!”

    Or, you know, to hang out on the couch watching movies all day. Whichever.

  134. The end of “the Library” no more procrastinating, I took this year and figured out what direction I want next year to go. And while I don’t know where I will be in 5 years I have a plan. Thanks for suggesting that we take a Library year.

  135. My New Year’s Eve “tradition” used to be watching the original “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”, but that was because it happened to be on TV on New Year’s Eve every year. Maybe it was only three years that I watched it, maybe more.

    I just watched “Dinner for One” (thanks to whomever posted the link). I think the premise of Dinner for One will be my new New Year’s Eve tradition: have a party with my gone or just absent friends. Of course, since I don’t have a butler, I’m probably going to get pretty soused at that party! Good thing I party at home!

  136. Errr – the only furniture I can imagine being thrown out of windows in Johannesburg is by drunk thieves. That one is false. It is a good story to add to the list of “tales for the tourists” – you wouldn’t believe how many believe the stories of pet lions and elephant showers. We do, however, watch Dinner for One.

  137. My husband (German) was not AT ALL happy with my description of “Dinner for One” and told me that I should amend my comment to include the following: Volker (the husband) has watched this film, that is nothing short of comedic genius (really?), every New Year”s for as long as he can remember. It is a cherished tradition that he will always practice. His hope is that one day his wife (me) can sit through the entire 19 (long) minutes without making a single snarky comment (not likely) and ruining it for everyone (Oh, sorry, my bad).

    BTW, he’s sitting beside me laughing his ass off. The things I do for love.

  138. Watching Dinner for One is, weirdly, a Christmas tradition in Norway. It’s shown on December 23rd and the one year they changed the time slightly, there was outrage from all the people who missed it. This year for New Year we ran round the outside of the house wearing glowstick jewellery and carrying suitcases, but I don’t think that’s a Norwegian tradition, I think it’s just this family…

  139. I like the 3 day water fight, much better than the british tradition of swimming in the sea on new year’s day x

  140. I am extremely disappointed that the comments here are so clueless about opossums and how bad the live opossum drop really is. I am with MaryEllen. She is the only one here who knows what she’s talking about.

    Jenny, the Bloggess: You should really make a positive post about opossums, because this one isn’t doing anything but drumming up opossum drop supporters and making people totally down with animal cruelty, as long as it’s a “gross” or “undesirable” animal. These folks need an education, and you are in the perfect position to provide one, seeing as how they all read your blog. I think you are now obligated to give them one.

    And here I thought I was in the company of some open-minded folks. How sad.

  141. Okay, I’ve lived in NC my entire life and I’ve NEVER heard of a “possum drop.” And I have a lot of backwoods-y family and former high school classmates. I’m pretty sure that’s made up.

  142. We can’t forget those new traditions being started this year. For example, there is an establishment in Duncannon, PA that began a new tradition at midnight…Stripper Drop. I guess it works like dropping the crystal ball in Times Square with just a bit of floozy added.

  143. I pronounce mirror “mirra” and although I butcher the word Comradery (I usually say something like comradority) I insist on still using it in sentances. It drives my husband nuts.

  144. Ooh, here in Denmark we watch that old British TV comedy too, only we watch it on New Year’s eve. It’s the last thing they show in TV before the queen’s speech!

  145. I was at Cambell Folk School – 1/4 mile away from the possum drop – a few years ago, at New Years Eve. We missed the possum drop because we elected to stay at the school and be there when the other local tradition came around: they blast muskets and a small (real!) canon, after loading it with underwear. True story.

  146. Okay, so is it diving into a frozen lake WHILE carrying a tree, or are they alternate traditions (chose either diving into a frozen lake OR carrying a tree)? Really a large difference there.

    Also joining in the group voting for a neighborhood punch fest as a tradition that should be more widely adopted. I have a few neighbors that I would wait all year for the chance to punch them.

  147. Having spent most of my life in North Carolina and currently living in South Africa, I propose a new tradition of putting nocturnal marsupials on furniture and passing them around the crowd (like in movies, when there’s a wedding or a party or something and they put the heros in chairs and dance around the room with them. Maybe we can even give the little mammals a crown or something, to make it more festive!).

    Then I did some googling and found out Africa doesn’t have any marsupials-well damn. I was thinking of substituting a bush baby for the possum, only they pee on their hands so your furniture will be kinda gross after the party. SO-new tradition-put a bush baby with a tiny crown on furniture, carry it around with much huzzah, then throw the bush baby pee stained furniture out the window and release the busy baby into your pantry (they’ll eat all your junk food like cupcakes and cookies, thereby making that New Year’s diet much easier).

  148. As a proud resident of North Carolina I have to say I’ve never been witness to or heard of a possum drop. Might be a mountain custom, or something that happens very very close to the SC. All the weird shit comes from SC.

  149. Most of the Animal rehabbers are really just animal hoarders. They really need to crack down on who the give permits to. Possum do carry diease

  150. Dee, those are strong words. I have met a lot of good rehabbers, and most of them believe that wildlife should live free or die.

    Also, all animals can carry disease. What is your point?

  151. Thank you so much for this post! I adore bread and my ancestors were Irish- banging a loaf against walls will be my new tradition followed by bread remaining being nuked and slaved in butter *drool*

  152. Opossums do not carry disease. They are biologically incapable of it. Viruses need a certain temperature in which to incubate, usually around 95F or higher. Opossums have a body temp of about 90, far too low to incubate a virus. If a rabid animal bites an opossum, the virus dies before it can replicate and infect the animal. The *only* cases of rabies in opossums are if the animal has been bitten directly in the brain by an infected animal, in which case it just dies from, you know, being bitten in the head. So opossums actually stop the spread of rabies because they kill the virus without passing it on.

    And, I don’t know where you live, but where I live, it takes two years of full-time volunteer work, sponsorship by two other wildlife centers, a two-week course, yearly continuing education, a USDA license, and three inspections per year (plus the two USDA inspections) in order to get a wildlife rehab license. You must report to the state every year what animals you take in and where and when they are released, and are not allowed to keep any for more than six months. So you are completely wrong in what you have to say about that, as well.

    Most readers of the Bloggess are well-educated, smart, funny people. I’m really saddened by the unexpected streak of cruelty here.

  153. I am South African and I can assure you that the “tradition” of throwing furniture out of the window is misunderstood. People do it in Johannesburg while they are drunk and trashing the place they are partying at. No sober, people in their right minds do it anywhere else in South Africa. We either set off the left over fireworks from Guy Fawkes day or we hide under the bed with our animals to protect them from “those people” setting off fireworks 😉

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