Peggy Goodrich (column mug)ENE

How do you escape 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 movie or symphony or a picnic or car races or ball games or just sit on the patio and watch the birds eat or go on a short vacation or anywhere just to temporarily escape the reality of this terrible virus that has changed the face of America and changed so many, many lives with death or a severe illness touching our families and friends. It seems to consume our thoughts and actions, and there is little we can do except pray.

Regardless of the outcome of the presidential election, not everybody is happy. There are some who are elated and there are some who are really upset and unsettled. Thank goodness, we live in the UNITED States of America.

There will be many changes, and to be happy and united we must go along with majority rule. We cannot escape what happens. We can only pray that we will become a country of disagreeing without being disagreeable. We can do it. We must. We will have other opportunities to vote again and again and will see many changes in our lifetime. We need to be caring and loving and kind in our changes and adjust the best we can ... not escape.

During World War II and the Great Depression era, 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 to escape. Sometimes we just need a little break from our daily work or 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.

I had a great visit with a gentleman recently about how he once escaped reality. He was an alcoholic. He said, “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic.” He has been sober for 31 years. I guess I don’t understand completely, but he said most of them drink to escape reality. They go to meetings to get their lives under control, instead of letting life control them. They learn to adjust to their surroundings instead of trying to force surroundings to adjust to them. What a great lesson I learned from him. We should all be in control of ourselves and not blame others or things. We each control our actions. We all have something that could use improvement.

Any hobby can be an escape 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. Sometimes we just need to calm our souls and get away for a short break from the world.

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!

Grandpa and grandma used to sit in the porch swing in the evening after supper and just watch the cattle grazing on the hillside and listen to the night sounds. It was a quiet respite from a hard day’s work. Those peaceful times were very important. I am sure they did their 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 a while

“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 cook something in the Crock-Pot all day to enjoy the aroma. Then I complement the meal with 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. Just lately I made this for a group of about 12 people, and it brought back many memories. It has always been a favorite of mine and is better if made the day before serving. Keep it refrigerated, of course. You may already know the recipe by heart.

Layered Dessert

First layer

1¼ cup flour

1 stick butter

½ cup chopped pecans or cashews

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

Second layer

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

½ cup powdered sugar

Small amount of milk

1 (9-ounce) carton 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 1½ cup milk, and one package of chocolate in 1½ cup milk and make into two layers.) Or use any flavor or flavors you like. Pour over second layer and chill.

Fourth layer

1 (9-ounce) carton whipped topping.

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

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Goodrich writes a weekly column for the Enid News & Eagle​. Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.

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