Saturday, August 23, 2008

The things we carry

Yesterday Denis and I were on our way to Birmingham. He’s doing a weekend conference at Faith Presbyterian. I’m along to set up our…nevermind.

I got my favorite Swiss army knife confiscated by airport security. The TSA guy nodded, almost apologetic, (disarming me for the kill) telling me he’d need to look in my purse. First he pulled out my hand cream and said it was way over the ounce limit.

I did point out, “It’s not li-quid. It’s practically sol-id.” I could see that was stupid.

“Liquid, gels, aerosols, three ounces or less,” was all he said.

“So, just pitch it.”I should have made everyone wait until I applied all of it. But it was that oatmeal stuff with no fragrance, no additives, very boring.

I did have my favorite water bottle from a Bloomberg friend, which I pointed out with some hostility, was EMPTY. (I planned to fill it at a fountain.)

He then asked, like they ask criminals on the Cops program, was there anything else in my purse that he should be aware of and suddenly I recognized this very, very unfair question by which he would condemn me. So, I don’t know if he believed my “Oops, I think I forgot I have a knife.”

He raised one eyebrow, reached in my purse and from some secret inner compartment instantly pulled out my Swiss Army Knife, and said, “I thought I saw something."

I’ve owned this for years. It is green and not only has blades and scissors, it has a pick for your teeth. I was about to cry, and he softened a little. He offered to let me take it back to our car, but we were dropped off… then he suggested I could go back to the ticket counter and see if they would let me put it in my checked luggage, but I saw out the window behind him, and the luggage cart was already loaded and the attendant was there getting ready to grand slam our suitcases onto the conveyor belt. (Rochester airport is small.) He then offered I could leave it at the business office and pick it up when I came back, but I knew about that. You think that service is free? Unfortunately, I’d already redeemed it once this summer – in Minneapolis when I was escorting my granddaughter to her gate and remembered just in time and took it to their business office window, signed papers in triplicate, and when I came back a short while later to claim it, they charged me $15.00!

I just was so sad. I stood there until someone nudged me, and then I said to the TSA guy, “Why don’t you keep it? It’s a sweet knife. Feel how nice it sits in your palm?”
I think in his heart he was tempted, but I know my knife is now rusting in some dumpster along with my hand cream and dozens of plastic water bottles.

So this morning we prayed, together, Denis and I. Not about the knife. That’s so little, I know. No, we prayed to see if we could leave behind some of the things we carry, to see if we could be here in Birmingham, and to see if God could use us by his grace, and could we bring some gift of loving God and finding glory in all he’s made for us to be.


Megan said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that too. We collect snow globes from locations we visit and last fall Craig and I took a trip to Florida. The girls were totally expecting us to bring home a Florida snow globe. We found it just before driving to the airport and guess what - a small little snow globe is considered to be on the dangerous weapons list. I had to throw it away right there. I told him too that I hardly thought there was three ounces of water in that thing.


Now I need to go back to Florida for another.

Such a silly thing to be sad about, but sad I was, almost the whole flight home.

abigail said...

I know just how that feels. You think we wouldn't care about hand cream, water bottles and favorite knives, but we do, and hate handing them over to airport security! Hope you have a good trip.

Margie Haack said...

megan, i'm sorry, too. it seems the law could be more intelligently enforced.
abigail, i thought i'd learned to pay better attention. that was probably a useless thought!

BKicklighter said...

I just think that was beautiful. The airport stuff ticks us off, but the real thought you talked about praying through was beautiful. I am grateful you shared.

Beckye said...

Margie, I'm so sorry your knife was taken. I have remembered mine just in time before. Mine was my dad's that he gave me years ago. I would have had to paid that $15!

jenni said...

I would've been ticked about the knife, too! How do they feel about lip balm? I've got lots of that.... I love how you summed this up ~ I was reminded that my stuff is just stuff.

Lynn Trew said...

I totally forgot I even had a small Swiss army knife on me last spring when I flew and they took it as well. Dan had got it for me on one of our trips. I know they are trying to protect us but somehow you feel sort of violated and like you a some sort of common criminal... very strange indeed. I can relate!

david, kelly & sam said...

oh so very sad.

i have one you can have! but it has my name engraved in the side. you could just name your knife "kelly". of course, the knife "kelly" could never replace your lovely tooth-picken' knife.

i agree with becky beautiful that you prayed about it.

Jeri said...

At Thanksgiving 1976 Curt and I experienced our first days apart in our marriage. He went on a trip, but studies required me to stay behind. We were living in Germany, and he went skiing at the Mattarhorn. He brought me a Swiss army knife that resided in my purse for 25 years--until a South African airport security check in 2001! I found a janitor and gave him my knife. Probably untold riches to him. And I cried. Since then I've lost 3 more because I can't seem to remember to check purse or pack before heading out. My kids have taken to asking each Christmas and birthday if I need a new one yet.... But isn't God good???

GW said...

I found your blogs via a Google News Alert to which I subscribe (Caribou Coffee keywords). You wrote about the manager at your local Caribou. Anyway, I read your entry here and wanted to tell you there is at least one large thrift store that is stocked with none other than items from lost luggage and confiscated items. We saw a segment about it on CBS Sunday Morning. They still have the transcript on their site, and I thought you (might) find it amusing.

By the way, God bless whoever gave you that care package with replacements for your lost items. What a way of being God's hands. :)

GW said...

You know, it would be nice if airports had a means of mailing confiscated items back to the owners' homes. They'd have your home address on record from your ticket, anyway, so all you'd have to do is provide a credit card number. Considering the confiscated items all fit in a purse, pocket or briefcase, the boxes wouldn't have to be big and the contents would not be very heavy. What a little niche for the right business...They could set up right next to airport security gates. If anyone does that, remember I said it first! LOL

GW said...

Had I realized the direct link to the Unclaimed Baggage Store in my first comment, I would have posted it. Ah well, here it is: