Sunday, May 01, 2005

Tote Bag

I convinced Dad to fly home with just a canvas tote shoulder bag for a carry-on. He arrived here ten days ago worn out from hauling a duffel packed to the brim with stuff he didn't need to be dragging all around the Denver terminal just so he would have the Ted Kooser book, Delights and Shadows, snacks, and his prescriptions.

When we got to DFW this morning, I tried to get him checked in curbside so we could get rid of his luggage ASAP. The checker said he couldn't issue Dad bag tags. Fortunately, I decifered the mumbo-jumbo to mean Dad had been pre-selected for full security screening. He's eighty-two years old and looks really menacing. He's been known to rant about Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Sam Walton, the pope, Bolton, Tom DeLay, The Media, Condie Rice, Saddam, and many more since back before Richard Nixon told the nation that sad, sad story about Pat's cloth coat and Julie and Tricia's little dog, Checkers. We went inside to the United counter to check in. I hadn't wanted to do it on-line in case the counter agent could give Dad a better seat than I had purchased for him. That's what happened on his way here. Since I was doing most of the talking to the counter agent, she asked if I would like to accompany Dad to the gate. This is a great thing to remember. I didn't know it could be done, but it made a huge difference. My savvy flyer friend didn't know it could be done, either, so that is why I am posting this. Maybe someone else can ease a departure for a relative. When I told the agent that I would like to accompany Dad to the gate, she checked out my ID and gave me a pass to go through security. That way I was there to interpret for Dad about his full belt buckle security screening, so he wouldn't get worried. I wonder if the baggage x-ray on his flight down here showed his fiendish fingernail clipper, so he was coded as a terrorist instead of a delightful Old Fart with chronic nail fungus. Once through security we went to McD's for coffee. We relaxed, and I figured out the timing for visiting the restroom and going on over to sit at the B30 gate. It's very different flying out from an international airport, than flying from the little airport in Lincoln, Nebraska. The flight boarded at least twenty minutes late, and Dad said he would have been very antsy waiting by himself. Many things have changed in the fifteen years since he last flew.

We chatted about the time my parents won a trip to New York City with some other engineers. This is one of my first major memories. I was in kindergarten in 1960. Mom sewed all the outfits she would wear on the trip. I still have tiny fabric scraps from the purple and gold irridescent weave for her cocktail dress, and for the lovely matching purple stole. I thought the outfits were incredibly glamorous. Just like today, the airline was United. Passengers back then received navy blue canvas bags of flight amenities--peanuts, matchbooks, barf bags, and possibly playing cards. I remember the canvas bags, since they soon ended up in our childhood play "dress-up box".

My parents visited FAO Schwarz in NYC in 1960. They brought back one toy for each of us. My toy was a Hasbro Fizzies Fountain. My brother got a toy airplane. My baby sister got an awesome wooden spinning merry-go-round toy with wooden people similar to later plastic Fisher Price people.

Mrs. Schidler was our babysitter while our parents were off on this amazing trip. Mrs. Schidler was pretty amazing, too, even if I can't scroll up an image of her from my memory data bank. She was a pancake batter artist! She could make any shape of pancake you could imagine.

When my parents returned to Lincoln, Mrs. Schidler and we three kids were watching from the open air observation deck. We could see Howie and Fritz walk down the roll-out stairway and across the concrete to the terminal. Looking back I realize they were two young sweethearts returning from a second honeymoon in the Big Apple.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

i love the picture of the tree. the strength. so fits the story.

he is a good man.

i hope you print out some of your wonderful writing and expose your dad to the memories.

i am familiar with others not sure what the children remember. he would rejoice in your writing.