Sometimes, living in a hometown your whole life can become routine and boring. Luckily, my imagination can turn any street, block, or event into a journey into another world. So join me on an adventure in my hometown.
New York, land of fine foods, plentiful cutting edge workouts, fashionistas' walking every street, and away from the hustle and bustle, a leisurely drive outside the city brings one to small winding roads where quaint towns dot the rolling hills. And all this happened right here in Southern Oklahoma.
The day started with a small writing session, fresh coffee awakened the mind. Hour passed and I found myself walking in to Sasser's Gym, not expecting to both start and finish a day here. Sweat, some cuss words (from me), and a sincere desire to remove my triceps from my arms and onto a new day of enjoying life. Heading to Tommy's Nails, soaking and enjoying the conversation with an elegeant older woman, she had sparkly eyes and talked about the time she wrote for the Marietta paper years ago. She had moved here from South Dakota. We talked about times past, of old town drug stores, soda shops, and boutique owners. Of slow afternoons on the front porch. I told her I was trying to bring back the art of simply enjoying the time and space you live in, rather than waiting to experience it somewhere else, or thinking it can only exist in the past. I learned that Duke, a gentleman who clipped, scrubbed, soaked, and hot rocked all the sore spots on my feet, drove here daily from Mckinney, TX just to work. He said the town seemed nice, more space for people, that people were kinder, friendly. He thinks he might move here if things continue to work out for him. I hope he does, having people with such an open spirit makes any town a better place.
Meeting people seemed to be the craving of the day. My husband works out in Gene Autry, so we decided to treat ourselves to a leisurely drive and a special trip to a stellar restaurant featuring the formerly of New York, Chef Larry Core.
This food alone transports one to a table in New York.
Specifically, Lento's, a local, seasonal, sustainable eatery in Rochester, NY
As we entered, the bright midday sunlight beckoned us to sit out amidst the "Mexico party on a beach" style cantina room. The ceiling alone can take days to view all the wild creations dangling, sparkling, and garnering giggles. My husband wandered out, watching the arrival of a jet, enjoying the wide bench seats and warm sunlight. For a moment, it was no longer a country drive in New York, no, we had landed in Mexico, watching the various planes while enjoying a crisp Prosecco. Breathing deeply, we simply sat, chatted, waiting for our meal, having simply trusted the chef to suprise us. Eventually an older couple with a passion for traveling cross country joined us. They two hailed from South Dakota. They wondered aloud how the food was.
Within a few minutes, they answered their own question.
Fresh home made ricotta, creamy stark white contrasted against the vibrant kelly green basil puree, hints of fresh herb wrapped the bite of dark green kale. Morel's, fresh picked by mixology wizard Garret, formerly of 115, shared their slightly smoky soft texture both sauteed and tempura fried. Golden hued beets paired against the candy striped cousin. Layers of homemade pasta swirled round my fork. Early peas and thick cut asparagus rounded out this palete, I suddenly could imagine that if spring had a flavor, I had tasted it.
Meanwhile, my husband had declared his plate off limits. Normally he shares, but apparently the sweet and spicy fried jalapenos atop the pile of 12 hour slow smoked brisket were only to be enjoyed by him. Luckily, one can get a few on a small plate just for themselves! And as if the food alone wasn't enough, Chef Larry made the day of an adventurous older couple from South Dakota, going cross country. He gave them, on the house, a selection of desserts; Coconut Cream, Key Lime Pie, and a German Chocolate Cake that after one bite, our South Dakota friend, Esther actually squealed with delight!
Leaving our temproary transcountry trip, we drove the back road, finding our way to Gene Autry, a small, beautiful, gently lived in town, huddeled next to the railroad tracks. Two old white stone buildings, covered beautifully in ivy, mark the Main Street that used to be the heartbeat. Lush green grass, gently rolling hills ebb and flow amidst this hidden town. As we drove through, I could imagine a few small shops, boutiques, homes redone with new pride and life, an eclectic style of an artists community.
Such a layered lunch begged me to return for one more workout.
And here, I found myself feeling the urban street tingle of a New York gym, not the Park Avenue jet set, but rather the wharehouse alleys of blood, sweat, and tears. Or in our case, kickboxing with Muay Thai kicks.
There is just something nice about kicking the living bleep out of something...ofcourse it is always good that this something is an inanimate object!
And finishing that last drive into New York life, I brought my bike out, feeling less like a messenger in New York, and more like a local, winding their way, stopping to admire some graffiti art, wondering why schools don't have "Tag" teams of students who obviously have mad skills and deep political ideas, paired with a natural desire to create their views on steel, mortar, and underpasses.
Cruising the back side of Main Street, music curled round the buildings, live music at Red Dirt. Further up, I passed some men who I see often walking, both cruised by on their bikes, smiling like school boys at their rides. A young woman walked two rescued dogs from the shelter, but I'll share that story another day. Kindness and good treatment of our animals is a whole blog subject of its own. But even here, the green ideas of kinder world wove in and out of the streets I traveled.
Just another adventure in my hometown.