Monday, December 30, 2013

Accessorizing Youthfully

Just before Christmas, we took the grands and their parents downtown on the train to see the musical bears in the Bank of America building. 

When I took Grayson's coat off, I realized he was wearing a bell necklace.  So was I.  It's official then!  I accessorize exactly like an 18-month old.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


2013 was a traveling year and our final plane trip was the first weekend of December when we were Salt Lake City bound.  Every airport visit has a story and this one is no exception. 
Snowy Salt Lake 

My husband sailed through airport security in the new TSA Pre-check Lane; he didn't have to take his shoes off or empty his pockets and he got to keep his jacket on.  Their line was short and soon he was on the other side, waiting for me to finish going through the scanner and put my shoes and coat back on. 

The x-ray machine was slow.  Finally my bag caught up to me and just as I was reaching for it, an airport employee swooped in and grabbed it.  As he carried it to the end of the table he said, "There's something in your bag.  I'm going to have to open it."

Panic washed over me.  Then dread.

Did you know that David Letterman used to be a grocery-store bag boy?  One late-night I saw him pack a brown bag and then cut away the sack.  When he removed it, the groceries retained the shape of the bag.  It was amazing.  Clearly he was not just a bag boy.  He was an exceptional bag boy.

Well I don't mean to brag but I'm the David Letterman of luggage; no space is unused.  When the suitcase is opened, the contents mushroom out like lava erupting from a volcano - or one of those magic sponges that grows when you put it into water.  I had visions of being unable to replace the contents of the bag after the security guard was finished with it.  

And there were Christmas gifts in my luggage. Wrapped Christmas gifts.  Worse, they were to my son from his "Secret Santa" and I had no idea what was in them.  I felt guilty.

The man was very gentle.  He gingerly felt all around the perimeter of the bag.  "The underwire in my bras!"  I thought.  "Those pieces of metal are big enough to be ninja weapons." In my mind I had already solved the puzzle when the guard passed over my bras and took out a present.  

I steeled myself for the question that never came.  Instead of asking me what was in the box, the guy just put the package in a bin.  Then he sent the bag and the bin through x-ray again.

That did not do it.

For a second time, he carried my bag to the table and felt through it.  He added two beautifully wrapped books to the bin.  (Secret Santa may not want to pay postage on his [or her] gifts, but she [or he] doesn't scrimp on wrapping paper.)  For the third time, my suitcase and the bin went through the x-ray machine.

For the third time, my suitcase failed.

As he carried my luggage back to the table again, we both knew that my beautiful packing job was about to be destroyed.  Frankly, I was surprised it had held up this long.  "I'm so sorry," he said, "but there's a mask in this bag."  (A mask?  Huh?)

"It's near the bottom of the suitcase and it's covering what might be under it."   He felt through the suitcase and dragged out the final wrapped gift.  X-ray again.  Back to the table again.

The guy couldn't have been any sweeter.  He was apologizing over and over.  "It's in the bottom of the bag."  He said.  I sensed that he was afraid to dive into the final frontier so, like Little Jack Horner, I just plunged my hand in and  pulled out…..

….a bag of Geechie Boy Grits!

Our kids are foodies and what says southern better than a bag of grits?  It was
the perfect hostess gift.  As soon as my uniformed friend saw what I was holding, he smiled.  "That'll do it,"  he said.

This time my bag sailed through the x-ray machine.  My BFF tried to help me stuff the wrapped gifts into the bag and then we crammed the clothing back on top.  We muscled the zipper closed.  We said our good-byes, he went back to work and I wandered away to find Jerry.

As we walked to our departure gate, Jerry wondered aloud how much time the pre-check lane had actually saved him, considering he had to wait for me anyway.  I wondered if the grits were still edible.  

Does sending grits through an x-ray machine five times classify them as irradiated food?