The Bag

     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!

The Birthday Party

     When my younger daughter was in the second grade, she came home from school very excited one day.   Her best friend Becky was having a birthday party and she was invited.   “Can I go?”, she asked.   I told her she could and that I would call Becky’s mom get the time and direction.   “You can’t call her though; she doesn’t have phone.  I know how to get there.   Remember I rode the bus to her house last week and her mom brought me home.”  

     “Are you sure you know how to get there?”

     “Yes,” came the answer with an attitude.

     The party is next Saturday at 2 o’clock.  We did the birthday thing.   Andrea carefully picked out her outfit.  It was very important, at that age, to be appropriately dressed. We got a gift, wrapped it, and purchased a card. The day of the party arrived.   Once again, I asked, “Are you sure you know how to get there?”

   “Yes Mom,” she answered again with a larger attitude than the first time I had asked.  We took off.  When we came to an intersection, “Go that way,” she said.  After quite a few miles I asked her, “Are you sure we are on the correct road? And are you sure you will recognize her house?”   “Yes, it looks like Fred Flintstone’s house.”   This is when I knew we had a problem.   Exactly what does Fred Flintstone’s house look like?   Is it next to a quarry guarded by Dino?   How do I ask for help to locate it?   Andrea assured me that we were on the right road and the house was just a little bit further down the road.   We drove on.   Finally, we came to a house with quite a few cars in the yard.   I drove in and parked.  I just knew we had arrived.  I knocked on the door which was answered by an elderly gentleman who assured me there had been no children living there for quite a few years.   Back on the road again (I was beginning to feel like Willie Nelson) we continued our search. By this time, we had been on the road for almost an hour.   I was getting frustrated and quite impatient.   I was mostly angry at myself for trusting an eight-year old to know how to get somewhere we had never been before.   I finally told her that if we didn’t find the house in the next ten minutes we were turning around and going home as we were almost in the next county. I was frustrated and at a loss as to what to do. I also felt very sorry for my daughter. She was devastated as Becky was her best friend at the time. Around the next corner, Andrea sat up and yelled, “There it is!”

     “Are you sure?” I asked.    What she had described as a Fred Flintstone house was a small bungalow with faux stone veneer.

     “Yes.” She answered excitedly.     We pulled into the driveway and eight little girls ran to the car excited that we were there.   “It is so late that I thought you weren’t coming,” said Becky.

     I learned my lesson. I will never again rely on a child to be in charge of directions.   But I didn’t actually learn my lesson because not many years later (older but obviously not wiser), Andrea and I set out to go to a surprise birthday party for my older daughter who lived in North Carolina. The only directions we had were to get off 95, go about five miles until we came to a small town named Leggett. It was an Ostrich farm. One would think it would be easy to find. Not! Once again, we made it but in a very untimely amount of time.  The question is, “have I finally learned my lesson?  

Winter is a Wonderful Time to Take Care of Things


I listened to the weather forecast last night and got my hopes up.   The weather-person predicted “above normal temperatures, sunshine with a few high clouds and zero percent chance of rain.“  I decided immediately that the next day would be perfect for a long walk with the dog.  It would be a day to get rid of the cobwebs that had formed in my head and find an inspiration that had been frozen in my brain due to the long frigid winter.    But what am I doing now-I am sitting by the window watching the snow accumulate on the grass and on the top of my car!  In my next life I will comeback tall, beautiful and be a weather girl!   I will predict the weather that I would like to have and hope for the best.    If I get it wrong I will simply say, “the winds changed.”  “El Nino or la Nina is out of sorts.”  “We did not know that that the volcano that has lain dormant in the Indian Ocean for one thousand years would decide to erupt today.”

Being a meteorologist is the only profession that I know of where a person can be wrong more than half the time and still get paid.   Can you imagine how long a math teacher would keep a job if the students were given a worksheet for homework on which they were to find the area of a triangle after being given the formula A=πr^2!

Yes, definitely in my next life I will be a meteorologist.

Be Careful what you Complain About!

A Rhode Island Red hen has chosen our home for her new residence.    As with all chickens, she arrived not housebroken and stinky but nonetheless made it quite clear that we  were her chosen family.     She found the flexible flyer sled to be a comfortable roost and refused to go anywhere else.    What did we do, we built her a roost close to the house but off the porch hoping to get rid of her mess and smell.    We moved the sled into the garage and out of her sight but to no avail, she simply moved her roost to the cooler which is stored on the corner of the front porch.

On a bright side though she presented us with an egg every day.   There was no doubt about their freshness and they were delicious .    She also made friends with, Daxx,  our ninety pound mutt who in turn became her protector.   Quite an odd couple!

She ate with the horses sharing their feed and avoiding their hooves.    During the day she moved from the paddock with the horses the shelter of the horse trailer where she pecked for bugs.    Then made her way to the barn in search of more bugs.    As night would begin to fall she made it back to the house and her chosen perch where she spent the night.   Bright and early she would rise and start her new day following her routine.

Sadly though, last night some critter came onto the front porch under the cover of darkness and killed her.    Daxx asked to go out and took off after something we did not see which must have prevented whatever it was from dragging her off.  She must have put up quite a fight as we found feathers everywhere not too far from the house.

Our hearts are heavy today.   Although she was not something we would have chosen as a pet, we have grown somewhat attached to her and will miss her.   She was rather entertaining.