Rinse beans and discard any shriveled or discolored ones. Place beans in a large saucepan, add water, cover and bring to a boil for 2 minutes over high heat. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour to soak beans. Add pork hock or ham bone, celery, onion and seasonings. Cover and simmer for 1 - 1 1/2 hours or until beans are tender.
Remove pork hock and separate meat from the bone. Chop meat coarsely and add back to the soup. Remove bay leaf and discard. Remove about 1 cup of the beans and mash or puree and add back to the soup. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.