The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

September 10, 2013

Tarred ... but not feathered

By Peggy Goodrich, columnist
Enid News and Eagle

— Are you tired?  Think about it.

So often I will say to Jim how tired I am. He will reply in jest, “As tired (tarred) as you always are, be thankful you are not feathered.” He is absolutely right. I am not really tired, I just think I am sometimes.

There are different kinds of tired. There is the tired that is delicious. Labor Day weekend, we were privileged to have our two new (almost) grand- daughters spend a night with us and help me cook and do what grandmas do. What a wonderful time we had. It was heaven. We talked and sang and told stories and read books and giggled and cooked cinnamon rolls, baked a ham, made cookies, made warm banana pudding, made yeast bread and the usual things one cooks for meals. We loved every bit of it. Those sweet girls, ages 5 and 11, have captured my heart. They are so sweet and considerate and mind so well, and don’t get into things or make messes. I loved every second they were  here. When they went back to Dallas, I was saddened and lonesome — and I was a little tired. I would not have taken a million dollars for our visit, but I was a bit tired.  

That is the kind of tired one can get over with a full night’s rest. While they were here, I  slept with one ear and one eye open in case they needed something. Then, the quiet became deafening.  

It seems the older we get, the more sleep we require. I have always thought life should be the other way around. Let the kids stay up and let the old people take naps all they want. Children fight taking afternoon naps.  We sure don’t. Teenagers can get by with only a few hours sleep and keep going and be alert. They don’t seem to suffer at all from sleep deprivation. We sure do.  

Jim said when he was in battles while in the Marines, that he went for days without proper sleep. They thrived on adrenalin and the necessary survival skills. If taking a nap meant that someone could sneak up behind them and slit their throats, they stayed awake with no trouble. Of course, when they did get back to a non-combat, safe area, they crashed and slept for days, waking up only to eat and then back to sleep until they caught up.  

Remember those dance marathons during World War II, when couples would dance       until they literally fell on the floor from exhaustion? The last couple on their feet got a cash prize. Money was scarce in those days and many jeopardized their health to try to obtain a little cash.  

Of course, youth had something to do with  their recovery.  

Back in the olden days, our parents and grandparents went to bed when the sun went down and didn’t wake up until the old rooster crowed in the mornings, which was very early. What light there was at night came from a coal-oil lamp, which didn’t give off much light. For an hour or so, one could study or read or mend, but then it was off to bed. They found time after eating a heavy noon meal to take a short snooze. They rested during the heat of the day, then back to work for them and the horses. Those little slips of sleep could do a lot to rejuvenate and energize until quitting time.  

Naps are a wonderful idea.  Studies are showing that a short nap in the afternoon can increase productivity and give people more energy and enthusiasm to accomplish routine chores. We have certainly found this to be true. Try it — you’ll like it!  

Being tired is nature’s way to telling us we need to slow down. My brother, who has cancer, is extremely tired all the time. It is an unnatural tiredness, not from lack of sleep, but from his necessary medications. At this point, there is very little he can do about it.  He still works and keeps his scheduled appointments, but he is just tired with a capital T.  

One would think when we are tired that the last thing we should do is exercise, but it seems that we feel better after we have gone to Jim’s physical rehabilitation. It is not only the exercise and getting limber that is beneficial, but the fun we have with the other patients. We are like a family. We laugh and talk and have such great fellowship, that the time just flies by. We feel so much better.

It is good to get showered and groomed and dressed to get out of the house, and around positive people who have the same attitude we  do about our health.

Exercise and a revised eating plan have made a huge difference in our lives. I talk a lot about desserts and such, but  they are often replaced in our house with fresh fruit and lots of vegetables. We eat less red meat and more fish and chicken now than we used to. All those changes seem to help overcome tiredness.

I like the attitude of my physician, Dr. Sizelove, who feels that the way to take care of ourselves is to prevent illness in the first place. No longer do we go to the doctor just when we are feeling terrible. We go to keep our blood pressure under control, and to keep an eye on our cholesterol and blood sugar and other things that can creep into our lives without our knowledge.  I agree with that philosophy. Listen to your body talk. If it says you are tired — then rest!

On one of those days when you are “too pooped to participate” is a good time to use a mix of frozen foods. We can get by with a simple meal or just salad if we serve a wonderful dessert. I have had many requests to repeat this cake recipe. It is rich so you won’t want a huge piece, but it keeps for days in the refrigerator and seems to get better about the third day.

Toffee Cake

Devils Food Cake Mix (follow box recipe)

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup caramel ice cream topping

2 large Heath bars (crushed)

Chopped pecans (optional)

Frozen whipped topping (thawed)

Prepare cake mix and bake in 9-by-13-inch pan. Bake as directed on box. When cake is done, use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes in cake. Pour the sweetened condensed milk over the cake while it is still hot, then the caramel topping. Let cool completely. Then top with thawed whipped topping.  Sprinkle with the crushed candy bars and chopped pecans. Keep refrigerated.

Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.