From the Editor’s Files: Taking time to relax before the holidays


I’m thrilled to report that Kim and I managed to find some time to really relax this past week. We, like all of you, are looking ahead to the holiday season that’s rapidly approaching, and are trying to recharge our batteries before those eventful days are here.
I used to think that the holidays were meant for relaxing, and for some people that’s the truth. But realistically, if you’ve got kids and maybe even grandkids, the holidays are a time to brace yourself for lots of activity.
It’s true that last year’s holiday season was clouded by the pandemic, and for some people, those worries and concerns are still impacting decisions concerning family gatherings this year. And now, just as there seems to be some easing of health concerns, supply chain issues will just add a little more stress back into our Christmas shopping adventures.
I doubt that my grandkids will get boxes of rocks for Christmas, but we might have to be a little more patient, and understanding, and creative when it comes to gift giving this year.
And now, one of my neighbors already has his Christmas lights up, which just makes me want to start that project this next weekend. Inside the house, we’ll still wait to decorate on Thanksgiving weekend, but geez…
You get the picture.
So it was nothing short of brilliant, I think, that Kim and I took off for a five-day getaway this past week. We have a friend with a lake house near Anthony that we rent a couple of times a year, and we enjoy getting down into Oklahoma for day trips when we’re looking for something other than fishing, biking and golf around the lake house.
This getaway was intended to give us a restful few days before the rush of the holidays, and that’s exactly what we accomplished. We read, we watched TV, we cooked simple, easy meals, and we napped. We literally napped every day!
We’ve tried doing this kind of relaxing around home, but it never seems to work out like this past week did for us. When we’re home, our attentions can easily get focused on some little thing that needs to be done, and that inevitably turns into a landslide of projects.
When you get away from home – even if it’s just an hour away – that temptation is gone.

If you’re looking for a relaxing road trip for lunch that also is wildly out of the ordinary, try the State Line Grain Company Cafe in Manchester, Okla. The drive is an hour or less from our area, and you can find the cafe’s details on Facebook.

We did take one afternoon for a road trip down into Oklahoma, and it was almost as relaxing as the lake house. First, we stopped in Manchester, Okla., for lunch at the State Line Grain Company. That’s right…we ate lunch at the co-op.
Manchester has a published population of less than 100 (93 to be exact), and Monday through Friday, lunch is served at the co-op from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. And lunch is low stress, with just one option for your meal each day. If you don’t like it, don’t eat there that day…but be prepared to drive a half hour to the next closest cafe.
For just $8, you get a heaping plate of food, and a chance to chat with local farmers and other visitors that day. We sat in on conversations about soybean yields, double-cropping, and even crane hunting.
We had never heard of crane hunting, and wondered if the two hunters there for lunch were pulling our legs. But Kim Googled it when we got back in the car, and sure enough…there’s a crane season in Oklahoma. It said the cranes were prized for their meat, which tastes like pork chops.
What an education for a Thursday afternoon.
We finished our road trip that day with a visit to Salt Plains State Park just another half hour to the south. We wanted to dig for salt crystals, but couldn’t that day…again because the topic quickly turned to cranes. The salt flats are a stopping point in the migratory path for whooping cranes, and you can’t dig for salt crystals from Oct. 15 to April 1 each year because the cranes need their space.
Instead, we hiked along a beautiful trail, watched Sandhill cranes fly in for a stop at the lake and observed hundreds of pelicans bathing and sunning themselves in one of the lake’s coves.
It was an awesome and relaxing day to add to our collection of relaxing days last week, and the whole trip has us ready to tackle holiday projects as they approach.
And when we got back to the lake house from our road trip, we did the most natural thing of all – we took another nap.