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October 19, 2004

‘There’s no place like home’

I don't know who coined that little phrase, and it really doesn't matter. It has become a cliché, an almost meaningless pronouncement although it still conveys a basic genuine truth that matters to each of us. Never was it more correct than after a brief sojourn that Laura and I took last week with a group of 18 local people. We also hooked up with a travel group composed of 20 folks from various parts of the U.S., and we each felt the same way about our respective homelands. The non-Perryans were from such diverse locations as Maine, Seattle, Chicago, New York City and other places in between. It was an eight-day trip to the West Coast of this country, and we crammed a lot of living into that space.

There is so much to see and do on the left edge of this country and we knew from the start that we would not even try to do it all. Some of the highlights, in my estimation, were the William Randolph Hearst estate at San Simeon, near San Francisco; the Rev. Robert Shuller's Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, near Los Angeles' and the cities of L.A., San Francisco and San Diego themselves. There is much more to see and do than just those points, but you have to realize that a body cannot do it all in one gulp. We did as much as possible this time and made silent promises that someday we would try to do the rest.

It was a nail-biting time to be far from home if you were a major league baseball fan because the World Series playoffs were just beginning and the Red Sox faced the hated Yankees in their little set-to. Also, on the gridiron, the Big Red at OU were squaring off against the Kansas State Wildcats, who beat the Sooners last season, and OSU had some critical grudge matches to resolve. So, many of us felt we were needed at home to pull noisily for our favorite team, but we had to admit the West Coast offered some beautiful and interesting alternatives.

I'd like to tell you about some of them, in detail, so if you are interested, please stay tuned in for the rest of the story, including how Yvonne Baetz Hodge was a major prize winner and Calvin Kelley did a warmup dance on "The Price Is Right."