Saturday, February 16, 2013

An Extra Box

Sometimes you end up bringing home more from a trip than you brought in the first place.  It was all too easy for me to buy gifts for my daughter, plus a canary squeaker, a duck quacker, and a cowbell, not too difficult to pack.

My husband just couldn't make everything fit. At a music conference with two huge rooms of exhibitors, he made the rounds more than once. As we headed out, he found himself with one extra box. So, as he had no carry-on, he decided he'd get a tote bag at the airport and just bring it on the plane.

We went through the rigamarolle of security together, and were almost finished when I noticed several workers huddled around the scanning machine.

"Excuse me, sir? Is this your package?" He gestured to the box.

My husband said yes.

"I'll have to open this package to examine the contents. Will you please step over here, sir?"

We gathered our things from the bins, put on our shoes, and went over to a separate scanning table. My husband was asked to sit down next to the worker. At this point a word leapt out at me from the computer screen: EXPLOSIVES.

It was very quiet. The man used a special sort of wand to go over each edge of the package. Then he opened it, scanned again. He carefully slid out the contents, which were wrapped thickly in bubble wrap. Scanned again.

I glanced at my husband. He was leaning forward, watching the entire process intently. I couldn't tell what he was thinking. It seemed to be taking forever as the man followed his preordained protocol.

Finally, and delicately, he removed the wrapping with one hand, wand at the ready. He stopped.

"Nice!" He said.  We all exhaled.

"Thanks," said my husband. "That's why I came to San Antonio."

A word of thanks to the TSA worker, who, although he could have been risking his life every second, treated my husband with courtesy and respect. Thanks to my husband who participated in the process with a gentle grace. And thanks to the Executive Board of TI:ME, who incorporated the lovely clock into his presentation gift. We'll never forget the excitement it afforded us.

And now I am returning home to the awesomeness that is Columbia-- with my award-winning husband, happy memories, and hopes for the future.


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