New Orleans: Bread pudding, jazz … and the inevitable cold

It’s always good to ease into a New Year. The stress, excitement, and indigestion that always accompany the holiday season demand a few weeks of recovery before one should be expected to get back in the traces and pulling a heavy load.

Transitioning from a few days of over-indulgence and little in the way of self-control or worthwhile labor takes a bit of getting used to. That’s not the way it works for a farm editor, however.

Before the black-eyed peas turn into a cold gelatinous mass, before the haunting aroma of collard greens leaves the kitchen, and shortly after the headache from over-celebration has abated, the annual Beltwide Cotton Conferences demand attention.

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This afternoon I am preparing to head to New Orleans for the 2016 version of the Beltwide. And if history is a reliable teacher, relaxation will not be part of the next few days. The usual schedule includes early mornings, late evenings, and long days. I’ll eat too much, likely have too much iced tea, and will be happy to see folks I’ve known for most of my adult life, but see only at Beltwide.

I’ll be in New Orleans for only two nights, but I have learned from other excursions to the Big Easy that two nights is adequate to derail any New Year’s resolutions I may have been foolish enough to have made in moments of regret and the misguided notion that I will do better. It’s unlikely, and perhaps Beltwide coming so close to New Year’s is fortunate — I don’t have to bother with the stress of trying to keep up with false promises for several weeks until inevitably succumbing to temptation.

Work will be accomplished, and I expect to come out of New Orleans with notebooks filled with almost indecipherable scribbles that I will, over the following week or so, turn into reports about trends, products, and expectations for the cotton industry. I also expect to consume some oysters, and perhaps some bread pudding — the best I’ve ever had was in New Orleans.  I hope to hear a little sidewalk jazz down in The Quarter.

It should be a good three days. But I’ll probably come home with a cold. I always do.

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