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New Years brings old traditions
3 New Years
Gordon Pirkle carries a tray of collard greens to a buffet Sunday at the Dawsonville Pool Room. Hundreds of guests ate the greens, black-eyed peas and hog jowls on New Years Day. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Call it superstition, folklore or good ol' Southern heritage, but collard greens, black-eyed peas and hog jowls are a staple of New Year's Day meals in Dawson County and across the South.

David and Regina Disharoon were among hundreds of friends and neighbors who enjoyed their lunch Sunday at the Dawsonville Pool Room.

"We've been coming here for about five years," David Disharoon said.

Pool Room owner Gordon Pirkle said he's been offering the New Year's Day feast for about the last three decades.

"I tell people, you don't have to stink up your house cooking the greens," he said. "Come here for lunch, where we don't just stink up the restaurant, we stink up the whole downtown by cooking them outside."

The event gets bigger each year.

"Especially the last three to five years. We have people come from all over," Pirkle said.

Eddie Howell drove from Commerce to enjoy the New Year's fare and hoped-for good fortune they may bring in 2012.

According to Howell, the meaning of the collards, peas and jowls can vary throughout the South.

"I was always told the greens are for wealth, the peas for prosperity and the hog jowls are for luck," he said. "I'm planning to have a whole lot of luck this year, because I just ate a whole lot of jowl."

Howell said he plans to use the luck and wealth to bring happiness to others.

"My New Year's resolution this year, like it is every year, is to do onto others as I want them to do onto me," he said. "Besides that, what else could I ever ask for?"

David Disharoon agreed.

"My resolution is to be a better person," he said.

While her husband works on his pledge, Regina Disharoon said she plans to start a workout routine to get more physically fit.

"My daughter says I should join a gym, so I might try that," she said.

But to ensure the year goes as planned, she piled the greens, black-eyed peas and hog jowls on her plate.

"These are so good," she said.