I’ve seen the light and it’s expensive

Published 9:45 am Friday, February 26, 2021

By Ricky Swindle

Muffler Shop Musings

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Howdy, friends!

As far as Snowmagedden 2021, I hate to tell you shivering, power on, power off and water on, water off folks, but I spent the entire duration of the blizzard in sunny Orlando, Fla.

But, not by choice.

My wife, son and daughter-in-law had arrived in Orlando days before to visit The Mouse as the in-law had never witnessed the grand spectacular place.

My grand heathen Levi flew down there with me on his first flight ever on Feb. 11 to rassle ride all the attractions at Universal Studios, a more suitable place for a 12-year-old boy.

Our plans were to fly back home on Sunday, Feb. 14.

As Steinbeck opened his great novella with “The best laid schemes of mice and men,” our Orlando scheme did not work out as we had planned.

After walking, mostly following that boy through that monstrous theme park for a couple of days averaging eight miles a day logged onto these over half-century feet of mine struggling, toting 57 years of grocery abuse on top of them, by Sunday I was more than ready to climb aboard that 737 and head back to God’s Country.

It was not meant to be.

That first cancelled flight home on Sunday was the beginning of five more cancelled flights to come during the week.

We watched on the news and social media the pounding of ice our home area was being punished with in awe.

My daughter kept a constant watch on this uncharacteristic MS weather and on our home while we were stranded in one of the best resort towns in the U.S.

Orlando is a beautiful place, and even more attractive when there’s a foot of ice on the ground at home. Orlando is also quite an expensive environment to be trapped in.

Our package we bought for The Hard Rock Hotel Resort ran out on Sunday, so we booked another night optimistically thinking that Monday we could return home.

After realizing Monday that was not going to happen, we checked out of that hotel because without a package the price for those rooms for one night could be used to make most folks’ mortgage and car payments for a month.

The word pricey does not adequately describe the cost. As my Daddy used to say, “I can’t dance in them tight drawers.”

So, we made the best of a bad situation, if you call sunny and 85 degrees a bad situation.

We loaded up in an Uber the next day and went to Sea World. It is a great park with several rollercoasters and it almost wore the grand heathen out.

Sea World has all kinds of aquatic species there and it is a very fun and educational park to attend. I will recommend Sea World to everyone, young and old.

Eight more miles on these old steppers of mine, and Flight #3 was cancelled yet again.

On Thursday, Levi, Leigh and I trekked to the Kennedy Space Center. It was a very historic day to be there because the Mars Rover Perseverance landed and we were there to watch it.

Those two are kindred spirits when it comes to space knowledge, so both of them yakked and discussed every little detail they witnessed at this haven of NASA exploration.

By that time, my knees and ankles were starting to pay the price for my unhealthy ways after another eight miles traveled on foot.

Then there was Flight #5. You already know, it was cancelled.

We spent Friday as a rest day (thank you, Jesus) only to find out flight #6 was cancelled because the commodes wouldn’t flush at the Memphis Airport. Really? Ain’t no way!

Oh yeah, that is Memphis. There is always a unique route to madness in Memphis.

We discussed that announcement to no end. I think if I were a suit- wearing ramrod at the Mempho Airport I would have come up with something better.

Maybe to the effect of “We are sorry, we have to close the airport. Our water pressure is too low. If we have a fire, we cannot properly and safely extinguish any blaze, so for the safety of our travelers and our employees, we must cease operations until our water pressure normalizes.”

Folks, you have to admit that sounds more professional than appearing on national media saying, “Hey, our crappers ain’t working so you can’t fly here.”

Reminds me of the children on the bus in the Forest Gump movie saying “seats taken” and “ya can’t set heah”.

Our boy and his wife were itching to get home. They had friends taking shifts caring for their pets, and I figure they had seen all of Orlando they wanted to see after residing there for two weeks.

Early Saturday morning we found them two seats on a flight to New Orleans, and two seats on the City of New Orleans train to Marks.

They left our hotel around 9 a.m. Saturday morning and after plane and train jumping they finally arrived home at 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

Me, Leigh and Levi had me a birthday supper Saturday night that Uber Eats brought to the room from Joe’s Crabshack, and we rested the best we could that night hoping not to receive an email that flight #7 was cancelled, too.

It was not. We made it all the way home at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

We are back home now and we pretty much missed all the ice and snow. My credit cards have finally stopped hemorrhaging and the credit card issuers have officially ceased sending me text messages such as “Is this you making this purchase? Enter the following code”.

That’s a good thing though, they’re just looking out for me I suppose.

Folks, take care of yourselves and keep in mind if you ever decide to go anywhere, make sure you have plenty of room on your credit card. You never know what can happen.

I had a theory I have had all my life that will be forever discarded in my mind after this trip. I have always stated as long as you have green American dollars in your pocket it does not matter where you are, you can always get home.

That’s not the case any longer in this old boy’s thinking.

I have been shown the light, and the light is expensive.