Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

December 11, 2012

Odyssey of the Grouch

By Dick Platt
Corsicana Daily Sun

— It may be a real stretch to relate our current moving problems and obstacles to the 10-year travails of Odysseus as he made his way back home to Sparta after the fall of Troy. Some of you may remember the Trojan War classics “Odyssey” and “Iliad” written by that great ancient Greek epic poet, Homer Simpson (actually I made that “Simpson” part up just to see if you were paying attention).

It seems that a dastardly cur named Paris enchanted the fair (as in fairest of the fair) Helen and spirited her off across the Aegean Sea to Troy, where he basically told her poor husband, King Menelaus of Sparta, “If you want her back you will have to come and get her!” Well, this made the Greeks madder than folks in a long line at the Motor Vehicle Department when the service window closes for lunch. They loaded up a huge armada and sailed over to Troy where they laid siege to the city for 10 years without success.

Achilles, the guy with the sissy heel, was the main Greek hero but Odysseus (also known in Latin as Ulysses) was the main leader. In fact, he was the leader of the Special Forces Unit that hid inside the Trojan Horse when the horse was hauled inside the gates by the unsuspecting Trojans. According to Virgil (another one-named ancient Greek epic poet) a very wise temple priest told his people, “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts — unless it’s feta cheese, gyros, ouzo, frappe, or baklava!” We all know they paid him no heed, hauled the big old horse onto main street and started partying. That night, Odysseus’ commandos snuck out, opened the gates to the hosts, and the war was lost.

Homer’s tale of the “Odyssey” chronicles the next 10 years as Odysseus makes his way back to his long-suffering and ever-faithful wife, Penelope in Ithica. While he is overcoming obstacles and encountering untold strange and beautiful places and people, she is using a pool cue to fend off some 108 suitors who want to replace Odysseus by sharing her bed and her throne. And so it is with me and The Little Woman (she would prefer Penelope) as we try to make our move from our home in Grandview Estates, Corsicana, Texas to The Isles on Palmer Ranch in Sarasota, Florida.

My advantage over Odysseus, of course, is I have my long-suffering and ever-faithful Penelope right by my side and she has long since had no need for that pool cue. A disadvantage would be that we are leaving a back-door view of a man-made lake the size of the Aegean Sea and gaining a back-door view of a man-made lake the size of three football fields with a water spout in the middle.

Our three-week sojourn to Florida was pleasant and fruitful. The pleasant parts came from the fact that we were expertly transported to and from DFW by Dan Layne of USA Limousines and we had plenty of time to visit with our new-found TGIF bartender friend, Desmi Larison. She made these two old wayfarers feel right and home and she makes a mean Bloody Maria. The highlight of the trip was our first-class Delta tickets down and back. I pulled in mileage from a couple sources and threw in some cash and we got seats 2A and 2B all the way through Atlanta to Sarasota and back.

Like old Odysseus, you find all sorts of strange flora and fauna in the first-class cabin. There are Bohemian folks, aristocratic folks, artistic folks, athletic folks, religious folks (as in Jimmy Swaggart), and some downright mean and demanding folks. One thing is for sure, most of the folks sharing our cabins probably have never felt the joy of making that last payment on a big-ticket item. I felt out of place for several reasons: I believe one should use the toilet before one gets on the plane instead of using the on-board loo before they even fire up the engines; I believe one should limit carry-on luggage to the size of two bread boxes; I believe one should only go to your bag in overhead storage once in an hour-and-a-half flight; and I believe one should limit one’s electronic devices to two and one should shut them off promptly if so instructed.

I guess the main reason I felt like an alien on a strange Aegean island is that TLW and I were obviously overdressed. She was in her usual understated elegance and I was a natty-catty in my new “New Balance” tenny-runners, my “Big Dog” shorts, and my button-down “Polo” shirt with no pocket.

We did, in fact, find a beautiful new home in a beautiful new community and I know we will eventually be very happy. In the meantime, like Odysseus and Penelope, we have many hurdles and challenges to overcome. Hopefully, we will be up to the challenges and be successfully nestled down in our home by the end of January.

The real hardship of our odyssey will come when we have to start out on a 1,300-mile road trip with an 11-year-old car, a 16-year-old cat, a 69-year old Penelope, and my 73-year-old arthritic legs that cramp up between our house and town. Look out, Florida — here come the Clampetts!

Oh well, that will be fodder for another installment.

See ya...

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Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com