The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 2, 2012

An escape from reality

By Peggy Goodrich, columnist
Enid News & Eagle

— Where do you escape from reality? Think about it.

Or do you escape? I guess there are some people who never want to get away from things and be alone or do something completely different. They never look for a vacation from the stresses and routine of daily living. But there are those of us who want to go to a theater or symphony or car races or ball game or picnic or vacation or anywhere just to temporarily escape the reality of routine.

During World War II and the Great Depression, the musical shows were so popular because most people wanted to be entertained and get a breather for even a few hours from the worry of war and concern about finances. The musicals were enjoyed so much because they always had a happy ending and were so upbeat. There was so much splendor and production that went into those movies. One could just sit back and dream that they were in those “happy ever after” circumstances.

We don’t have to be in a stressful situation to want a change. Sometimes we just return to work or our daily routine with a little different outlook and renewed enthusiasm after we have been away to clear our minds for a brief moment. I think that is why coffee breaks were invented. Just those 15 minutes from looking at a computer or talking on the phone or waiting on a customer can give a renewed spirit. Short breaks in any day makes the rest of it go so much smoother.

When I was just a little kid, I and my sisters would hoe corn in the fields. We did more playing than working, but when we had completed a certain number of rows, we could put our hoes aside and go wading in the creek nearby. We always started with the shortest rows, and it wasn’t long before we had our shoes off and were wading in the cool water. As I have gotten older, I hardly remember the corn we hoed, but I sure do remember the breaks from reality and the wonderful cool of the creek. I don’t remember that we had a time limit on the amount of wading we could do. I guess we quit and went back to work when the skin on our toes wrinkled. They we would put our shoes and socks back on and hoe a few more rows, only to repeat the process over and over until the work was done. I still love to wade in a creek.

Any hobby can be a break from reality and the routine day’s work. Whether it is playing a piano or musical instrument, reading, watching television, or crafts, a break can really charge up the system and make work more enjoyable. It gives one something to relax with and look forward to. Not that work isn’t fun; It is! But we also need something else to do with our time and energy for a change of pace.

Remember recess in school? Those were the best times of all. The teacher even dropped what she was doing and would come out on the school ground and play with us. We all looked forward to recess, especially in the spring when it was so inviting outside.

We would save some of our lunch that we carried in our lunch buckets, just for recess time, when it tasted sooooooo good. That little snack would hold us until we got home from school. Food was important then, when we were growing so fast and playing so hard, not to mention studying so diligently!

Sometimes, I pack a picnic and we go to the park to enjoy our lunch and a little outing after Jim has gone to his physical rehab. It may be the same food we eat at home, but it just tastes better outside. And it gives us both a little breather and fresh air in our lungs.

I know now why Grandpa used to sit in the porch swing and watch the cattle grazing on the hillside. It was a quiet respite from a hard day’s work. Those peaceful times were very important. I am sure he did his best thinking and planning during those relaxing moments.

Somewhere in the recesses of my mind is a little poem that goes something like this:

“When he was over-weary, he would go

“Apart from all, to some high secret place

“Where he could be alone and think awhile

“And there find full recharging of his soul

“And encouragement for the work willed for him.”

One way I rest and recuperate is to bake or make something in the kitchen. I love to put on a stew or roast or a pot of beans and enjoy the aroma all day, then finish off the meal with the invitation of hot bread from the oven and a delicious dessert. This dessert has been around for years and has been called every kind of name imaginable. Jim mentioned this week that it would sure taste good, so I made it and will share the recipe with you, although you may already know it by heart.

Layered Dessert

First layer:

11⁄4 cup flour

1 stick butter

1⁄2 cup chopped pecans or cashews

Mix this together until crumbly and pat into 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool.

Second layer:

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

1⁄2 cup powdered sugar

small amount of milk

9 ounces whipped topping

Mix together and spread on first layer. Chill for at least one hour.

Third layer:

3 cups milk

2 small packages instant pudding

Mix milk with pudding as directed on box. (Note: I use one package butterscotch in 11⁄2 cup milk, and one package of chocolate in 11⁄2 cup milk and make into two layers.) Or use any flavor or flavors you like. Pour over second layer and chill.

Fourth layer:

9 ounces whipped topping

Top third layer with second carton of whipped topping and spread evenly. Sprinkle with a few chopped nuts. Cool completely before serving.

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