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No matter what, health is wealth

By Cliff Cannon • Nov 20, 2018 at 4:00 PM

“Those blankety, blank yuppies think they are Achilles or Ulysses “

An angry man

I love living here in Norwalk. The thing I like best is the warm wonderful people I get to call friends and neighbors. Truly I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. However, if I did move it would be to Ithaca, N.Y.

Ithaca is nestled in beautiful central New York state with it’s rolling hills and Finger Lakes is an amazingly beautiful place. Befitting a town whose slogan is “Ithaca is gorges” there are waterfalls everywhere  while the town itself overlooks the incomparable Cayuga Lake with it’s 40-mile length and 400-foot depth.

I spent my 20s delivering candy across New York almost always finishing in Ithaca, which is right in the heart of an area named Central N.Y. Military district. That is land set aside for Revolutionary war veterans and more importantly, to this history buff many of the city’s were named for classical hero’s from Greek and Roman antiquity. So thought provoking names are everywhere.

Of course, Ithaca got it’s name from the Greek poet Homer who wrote of Achilles and Ulysses (the king of Ithaca) adventures in his classic books that formed the basis for western literature (which almost no one has ever read) — “Iliad and the Odyssey.” Today, the cities of Homer as well as Ulysses are towns close to Ithaca.

What really sold me on Ithaca is Cornell University, which sits on a hill over looking the city and lake. Truly, as befitting an Ivy league college with an endowment fund that has even more money than God. It is a beyond belief campus in its beauty.

Cornell is so loaded with dough that its students could afford Fanny Farmer candy. Which is where I met this man who received the orders there. He no doubt in my mind drank vinegar every day before work because he might have been the most sour person I ever met.

He told me of the Cornell graduates going out on a foot bridge over one of the many waterfalls on campus and giving their speeches of what they planned on doing to change the world, concluding “those blankety blank yuppies think they are Achilles or Ulysses.”

And that intrigued me. Having grown up owning only one album, a memorial record of President Kennedy’s speeches, I was totally sold on soaring oratory. And I could hardly wait to get on that bridge and speak.

Then my odyssey changed. I took a different job and didn’t get back to Ithaca for 30 years (It only took Ulysses 10 years to get back). Of course, real life has a way of showing you the errors of your youth. So when I finally got back I did make my speech.

Accompanying me was my beautiful brown-eyed wife, who has brain cancer. In fact, experts told us she was supposed to be dead by then. Holding her hand, kissing her softly, I simply said “I am glad you’re here with me” and that was it.

Point being is no matter one’s odyssey, health is wealth. The experts aren’t always right and you can beat darn near any challenge if you only have the courage to try. As for us every day is Thanksgiving Day and we couldn’t be happier nor prouder to live in Norwalk — the city of champions — and I don’t need a waterfall to make this speech.

Happy, healthy Thanksgiving to all.

Cliff Cannon is a Norwalk resident.

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