NAMM – The Trip Home!

I should have taken my experience at John Wayne Airport security as a portent of things to come. It looks like such a simple, safe throwback of an airport with The Duke standing guard at the entry and everything running smoothly on his watch. Well, pardner…….looks are deceiving!!!!

The one thing I am used to is having to be frisked EVERY time. Why?????  Because my braids are too thick. Seriously!!!!  When I step into the scanner, apparently my braids must be bulletproof or at least X-ray proof as they show up as bright yellow “danger” signals. But whether there is a scanner or not, my braids apparently look capable of concealing incendiary fuses as I am always taken aside for frisking.

Obviously not my scan but you get the drift

So…..as I’m being frisked at John Wayne, I see that there is a holdup with my carry-on bag. Three security officers are gathered around and as I step out of the frisking station I’m asked if it is my bag. Uh oh…..that already doesn’t sound good. I was totally unprepared for the next question. “Is this your knife?” To my horror, one of the gloved security officers was holding a steak knife in his hand.

YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My first response was “Of course not! OMG! How did it get there? etc……” But as I drew closer to it, I saw something on the handle that looked familiar. It was a little bumblebee on the hilt. Just like the bumblebees on my French Laguiole steak knives at home.

Matching steak knives back at the Ponderosa!

When that registered, I immediately changed my response to “OMG! It IS my knife” I wasn’t sure what was the better answer. If someone had planted it, the entire passenger list would have been suspect and we would definitely not be taking the flight out. If it was mine……I was pretty sure I would not be taking the flight out. It dawned on me that my carry-on was the same case I took to work every day with my lunch packed in it, and that I sometimes took a knife to cut apples and cheese. This was my official explanation to the security officers. Perhaps because they did not find any incendiary devices in my braids, or perhaps because there was a disconnect between cute bumblebees and a terrorist weapon, they mercifully believed me and said they would have to keep the knife but I could proceed. What is crazy is that it made it through security in Tampa on our way out and it was in my bag all along.

I was so relieved to have successfully run the security gauntlet despite the unexpected challenges!
I was humming “Two of Us” all the way to the gate in blissful ignorance…..we were just a few simple plane rides from home. NOT!!!!!

When we arrived at our American Airlines gate we were informed that there was severe wind turbulence over Dallas and that our flight was delayed at least 1 1/2 – 2 hours. We had a 2 hour layover in Dallas so it was looking dubious that we would make our connection to Tampa which was the last one out. We finally boarded and whether we made our connection or not was a toss of the cosmic dice.

Flash forward. After a very turbulent ride to Dallas, we arrived with just enough time to make our connection. Like a neon cross at a roadside revival tent, salvation was in sight! We gratefully boarded our plane along with all of the other gleeful passengers who had thought they would be sleeping on the airport floor. Camaraderie was rampant and spirits were high. The first announcement told us there would be a slight delay as they were waiting for the pilot’s dinner catering service. We watched the catering truck arrive and leave as time continued to elapse. Tick tock. Tick tock. We were then told that they were waiting for a mechanic to check out a slight malfunction which would take approximately 5 minutes to repair after the mechanic’s arrival (not comforting). Twenty minutes later we were informed that the plane had been taken out of commission and that we should disembark and stay close to the gate for further instructions. A few passengers started to lose it emotionally and another threw up in the cabin. The worst part was that there was not a single place near the gate to order a drink!

Shoot me now!!!!!!!

We waited approximately 30 minutes before it was announced that a plane had been found that was “nearby” and merely needed to be mechanically checked out and cleaned. When it arrived, first class passengers were allowed to board while the rest of us urged them to help clean the coach section so we could all get home. I’m sure they spent their time ordering drinks instead. But at long last, we boarded. We kept expecting a clown to jump out of the cockpit with a sign that said “Just kidding! Please disembark again!” The plane finally took off  and we made it home at 2:30 am. It was a long and surrealistic trip! And as we landed, all I could think of (other than wanting to kiss the ground) was that Dorothy was right….”there’s no place like home….there’s no place like home!”

There's no place like home!!!!!!!