No, this is not about the examination of old ladies. Reading Facebook this morning, I saw where one of my friends had his luggage redirected to some irrelevant city. Another one of my friends told about suspicious scrutiny given to her x-rayed bag which prominently showed the seeds in her butternut squash. That brought to mind an experience I had at the airport many years ago. Please pardon me if many of my stories took place many years ago, but when you read an old guy's blog, you need to expect that kind of stuff.
When our family moved from Delaware to Modesto, CA, we were leaving a lot of favorite things (all my children were born in the east). One of those "favorite" things was a restaurant that served a Pennsylvania Dutch sweet and sour salad dressing that was matched by no other eatery--certainly none in Modesto. So when I had to go to Philadelphia to attend a Diaconal Ministries Committee meeting, I made it a point to see friends in Wilmington, DE. Before I left I made a trip to this restaurant where I found they were selling bottles of this salad dressing. Well I knew I wouldn't be east again until the next meeting of the committee, so I bought a dozen of these bottles, and I packed them with cardboard separators and I gerryriged a handle so I could take it as carry-on.
By the time I reached the baggage check I was zoning out from the weary trip and bustle of the meeting and visiting friends. So when I placed my box on the conveyor belt my mind was shut down. The operator stopped the belt, and with a threatening tone of voice said, "What do you have in the box, sir!" I want to tell you that at that moment in time I had no idea what was in that box. I stammered and stuttered. The armed security guard walked toward me. None of this was helping me gain my composure. I looked at the screen to see what she saw, and so help me it looked like 12 grenades neatly arranged in this box. She laid the box on its side and backed up the belt for a second look at these dangerous shadows. When the second picture came up, and we could clearly see the distinctive shape of the bottles, I blurted out, "It's salad dressing." The threat was over, and I was allowed to go on my way.
Then there was the time when we were living back east and at that time no one knew what tacos were. The only tortillas I could buy were canned. I kid you not. They were canned tortillas, and they were not even a reasonable facsimile of a tortilla. So when I was back in California on business, I loaded my luggage with 20 dozen tortillas. I was much younger then, but still I could barely move my luggage. In those days they didn't charge extra for overweight bags. We put them in the freezer and doled them out for special treat taco nights.