February 2, 2020
It was December 19, 2019, only one week until Christmas. We were standing in the airport in Richmond, Virginia by the baggage claim carousel waiting for our luggage. This was the first time we had ever checked our luggage as we usually only took carry-on. But because my husband is in so much pain, we decided to check everything to make it easier for him. We were returning from a week in Frisco, Texas, visiting his youngest daughter and her family. A great trip had been made even better as one of his other daughters from California surprised him by flying in for three days. We had had a wonderful time. It is always great to see and spend time with family especially when there is such a great distance between all of us. But we were ready to get home. Since we have two dogs and two horses, we had asked my brother to stay at our house and he had graciously agreed to do so. This had alleviated the animal worry, but he has a family and obligations, so he also needed to get home. It had been a good trip, but it was time to get back to the real world.
At last our bag came through the opening. My husband went to retrieve it but when he got back to me, I heard a strange noise coming from inside of my suitcase. It was ticking! This gave me quite a start. My first thought was that one of the baggage handlers had put some contraband into my bag. I wasn’t sure how to handle this situation. I was torn between calling security to report it or just leaving with it. But the decision was made for me when one of the other passengers said in a rather loud voice, “That suitcase is ticking” as he pointed to my bag. That was all it took. Security immediately came over to my husband and me, pulled us away from the baggage area along with the suitcase. “What do you have in your suitcase?” asked the man.
“Our clothes which are mostly dirty.” I answered. “Someone must have put something into it. We had no trouble when we went through security in Dallas.” By now I was getting a little bit nervous. What could be making that noise. I knew that I had not packed anything dangerous, but something was indeed ticking in our suitcase.
By this time, a small crowd had gathered. “Open it.” said the man. So, I opened it and began removing the contents. I have never understood why a bag always seems so much fuller on the return than on departure even though no purchases are made. Maybe dirt takes up more space! First out was the dirty underwear and other small items which I had just stuffed in the cracks and crannies with no organization. Everything was wadded and rolled. Nothing like being embarrassed! All these strangers watching me unpack the dirty clothes. The more I pulled out, the louder the noise got. When I started on the bottom layer, I found the culprit. It was the plastic bag that contained my battery-operated toothbrush. Somehow it had been turned on from being jostled around. The mystery was solved, we were not arrested and were finally free to go home!