Many of us make New Year’s resolutions after the holiday, often to gauge how much effort we need to commit to improve ourselves.
Having recently started my second half-century on Earth, I decided to make just one over-arching resolution for 2019 – to be more adventurous. I will stop short of sky-diving at 15,000 feet or taking the Polar Plunge into ice-cold water, however.
I told a friend about my goal to experience new adventure so she swooped me up over the weekend and drove me an hour to Route 66 in Wellston, America. My friend Billie is a “foodie” and she loves trying new places to eat, which included the can’t-miss Old Germany restaurant in Choctaw where we dined a couple weeks back.
Being a foodie means more than just enjoying food. A foodie embraces the entire experience of eating, learning the history of restaurants and really seeing food as an art form as much as sustenance.
So Billie and I bundled up on a chilly 27-degree morning to stand outside The Butcher BBQ Stand in Wellston. We got there 30 minutes before opening and there already was a line 25 hungry souls deep. A local man standing behind us said it’s wise not to wait too long because once they’re out of food, they close (sometimes hours early).
There was a reason for the line. As Billie described it, “The best dang barbecue I’ve ever had, made by a local family carrying on a long legacy. Even the sides were flawless.”
The burnt-ends (steak) and ribs were smoked to perfection, and we relished mouth-watering mac and cheese and these amazing barbecue beans with apple pie filling. Other diners say the pulled pork, brisket and sausage are equally incredible. Note: They only have Twinkies for dessert; after all, they are barbecue-rs not bakers.
It is well worth the drive to Wellston to check out the Butcher BBQ Stand’s award-winning fare! On the way back, stop at Pops in Arcadia for some bottled soda.
I have lived in Oklahoma 30 years but had never been there. Quite a tourist stop. Although Pops was out of the blue Nehi cream soda I enjoyed as a child, I did purchase a “Diet Jolt” cola (which seemed like a contradiction).
It appears more foodie adventures await me. So I guess I need to make a second New Year’s resolution … get back to the gym!
* * *
Vicki Davis, Yukon’s Main Street director since July, has done yeoman’s work leading volunteers and merchants in the latest Main Street revitalization project.
Over the past three decades, Yukon has started efforts to rejuvenate downtown several times with modest success. Planter boxes and antique street lights were installed and some renovations were done to storefronts.
Under Davis’ direction and leadership by the Yukon 66 Main Street Association, this latest revitalization effort has been energized like never before. The most important stakeholders are Main Street business owners and managers themselves, many of whom have bought into the process.
If you went to a Christmas On Main Street Holiday Open House you noticed increased business participation. The majority of downtown merchants stayed open late while visitors enjoyed everything from horse-drawn carriage rides and Santa photos to live reindeer displays and performances by holiday characters.
A second Downtown Yukon Vision Development Workshop will be Thursday, Jan. 10 at the First Christian Church of Yukon, 601 Maple. This is THE time for people who have ideas on ways to improve downtown Yukon to share their feedback. Input from all stakeholders – including merchants, residents and civic leaders – is critical as the Main Street committee finalizes the vision statement for the downtown district.
Please attend the workshop, which runs 5:30-8 p.m. You also can share your ideas by calling 350-5999.
* * *
One of the most important school/community partnerships arrives soon. The annual Youth Speak Out, presented by Yukon Public Schools’ Yu-Can Coalition, is a prime opportunity for decision-makers to hear directly from students about the problems they face and issues they see.
These middle schoolers and high schoolers have opinions that matter and their voices must be heard. Each student will present a speech to a listening panel comprised of elected officials and community leaders.
What is most important is that panel members take action, if needed, based on the students’ comments.
Today’s youth face a range of challenges and many are often afraid to verbalize their concerns. Substance abuse, cyber-bullying, suicidal thoughts, and mental illness are just some topics students have shared during previous Youth Speak Out events.
Yukon and Mustang students selected to make speeches in front of the listening panel should be applauded for the courage they demonstrate to discuss what can be uncomfortable and often-embarrassing subjects with mostly strangers.
Those adults who volunteer to serve on the listening panel must take the students’ words to heart and promise to act if deemed appropriate.
The Youth Speak Out will be 9:30 a.m. to noon Thursday, Jan. 24 at the Yukon Fine Arts Center. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 354-5274, ext. 1751.