Prosperity Plate

new years prosperityI grew up in a family that bred, raised, and raced Thoroughbreds. It was a miserable family business that taught me, from an early age, about the disaster that can follow hard-working people.

I cannot remember the chronology of our failures, but it is hard to forget the register of despair: the breach birth miscarriage, the colt with pneumonia, the filly who broke her leg before she broke her maiden, her sister who needed electrolytes because she could not sweat, the trips to the breeders that yielded no foal, the horse that died under the care of a neighbor while we were on vacation. I could go on and on, but one more…

Trying a different approach, we decided to partner with our trainer, Lalo, on a champion charger. Two months of losses later, Lalo respectfully requested to buy back our share for the misfortune we’d brought to the gelding’s career.

There are all sorts of cultural recipes for success at the turn of the new year:

One of my Chinese friends will not sweep at this time of year for fear of brushing away luck.

My mother says we must pair fish (usually kippers) and twelve grapes with our tipple.

Others have faith in the fortune of black-eyed peas.

Part of me doubts that anything could be the antidote to our unlucky lot. The other part of me chokes down a smoked salmon, grape, and black-eyed pea sandwich at the stroke of midnight.

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