It’s morning in the kitchen and opening season at Hot Springs’ biggest tourist draw, the venerable Oaklawn Race Track. Since 1904, the jockeys have worn their stable owner’s colors and ridden horses to the joy or heartbreak of the attending crowds. Today nearly a 1,000,000 people yearly come to watch these swift beasts run, for this track sends up its winners into the big leagues with the big purses.
I do admit to being one of the few city dwellers who’s never been to Oaklawn, for my racing preferences tend to lots of horsepower under the hood and the brightly painted color schemes of NASCAR events. Both environments have their rabid fans, a group that parties too hard, and the majority who are well behaved. The bad apples in the barrel spoil the reputation of the rest, my nanny used to say.
No matter how they party at these races (and I’m counting down the days to Speedweek at Daytona!), I figure almost everyone gets started with a little wake up cup. Some folks will only drink Folgers “Good to the last drop” coffee, perhaps because they grew up drinking it, or their mouths aren’t adventurous in the morning. I grew up in Louisiana, so Community Coffee was our wake up brew. “Now that’ll put hair on your chest,” my old daddy used to say.
In my early married life, coffee beans became almost as precious as gold. A blight or fungus hit the trees, so the crop failed. A short crop means a high price. Early married is an euphemism for poor for most young couples, so we switched to an herbal tea brew called Morning Thunder. While it didn’t have the caffeine content of coffee, double bagging it did the trick until the price of coffee came back down to earth again.
In my case, coffee is my caffeine of choice. Yours may be tea, Diet Coke or Dr. Pepper. If you had a good night’s sleep, you might need less caffeine rather than more. I find I sleep better if I listen to quiet music and color in a picture before heading to bed. Reading facebook or email keeps my brain too active.
Likewise exercise will keep me awake if I do it past 7 pm. You will need to listen to your own body. What works for me may not work for you. Be flexible, adjust. Lately I’ve been sleeping very well, thank you, for I’ve rearranged nearly every piece of furniture in my condo. I got rid of a few excess pieces, for my small space seemed crowded. It was like a stew that had a few too many ingredients, so the taste was off.
Plus I was storing things for which I no longer had a use, since they were remnants of my former professional life. I’ve donated those items to younger, active women. Sending these reminders of my working life out to others frees me to walk into a new direction with my work. I’m no longer visibly reminded by the old responsibilities and duties, but can forge ahead on the new path to respond to my new callings.
I’m going for another cup of this new Red Light Roastery coffee. I found it at my local YMCA, so part of the purchase benefits the Y’s programs. The coffee is roasted right here in Hot Springs!! I always like to support new businesses in my town. I hope you will too, wherever you live.