This morning, at 5:21AM to be exact, the jelly beans got pulled over.
SeaTac airport was quiet, people were orderly, I went to the correct scanner with my fake hip. All was well until I saw my bag drop-kicked out of the conveyer belt and sent to detention. Knitting needles? Never happens. Food? A tidy legitimate turkey wrap in my handbag. Hand cream? Always check that I am under 3oz.
A very serious, perhaps end-of-shift TSA agent was slamming bins into a cart when he saw my small roller and marched — ominously — to my bag, looking neither left or right, while I hopped into my shoes and scuttled to his kiosk.
“Unzipping” he said, not looking at me. I had an urge to laugh.
I tend to run from snow and ice and skiing every year, at least for February and March, to the Pacific Northwest. To each their own and enjoy, but I prefer rain, early daffodils and the cascade of time change that has the migrating song birds shouting outside my window by mid-March at 4:45AM.
Today I head back, for an exciting spring of family events and my late garden, friends and catchups. My bags have less clothes and more thrift finds this time, secured curbside. I am as always sad and excited at the same time.
“Anything sharp’ he continued — not a question.
“I am a knitter” has proven to be the best way to answer this. “Beware of needles” is more informative, but that cheeky humor once incurred a more extensive search than was necessary in a small regional airport. So I keep it simple.
He pulled on blue rubber gloves and began to rummage. Immediately yarn teetered precariously on the edge, an eye crayon threatened to bolt, magazines commenced to slip. Then he pulled out the offender: an unopened, brand new bag of Brach’s black jelly beans.
A tender memory: every spring for the last uncountable years I have returned to the frozen land before Easter and my dear friend across the street has placed a bag on my kitchen island for me, sometimes in a bunny-themed bowl from Marshall’s. After she passed in 2020 I skipped them for a couple of years: as grief goes. When my cousin brought a bag home for me this week I savored the amazing that somehow the memo had been passed on. Thanks, Lou.
So I packed them, in my carry-on no less because jeez, no thanks a sniffer dog grabs and runs with it while inspecting downstairs in baggage transfer.
The agent, not a smile or a chuckle, meticulously massaged the bag — every last jelly bean — through the packaging. He replaced it, zipped (stuffed) the bag together and pushed it across the counter.
I thought: my friend is laughing her pants off somewhere.
What is the simplest, most pleasurable act you can do today, for you and for another?
It’s the tiny big things.
8 thoughts on “Pull Over.”
I’m never going to be able to eat a jelly bean ever again without laughing.
Marvelous, thank you.
Perhaps this spring while you are here on the east coast we will actually find time to connect, to sit with a cuppa something and share some thoughts and laughter.
I would like that very much Ellie.
Good. We will make it happen. Text to 781 254-1630
Love, love this story – and your descriptions here. Made me smile and think of the sweetness of friendship and importance of remembering the little things.
I know that Lou is with you – enjoy the jelly beans and safe travels Alex. You are a gifted writer.
Oh my too funny! Of all things…
What a great little story. I too have several like that, but one was flying out of Portland to Costa Rica where I had a house. One small “personal bag” (a large day backpack that I shove under the seat) got pulled. I’d forgotten I’d put a small netbook in there (I’d taken my laptop out of my carry-on already) but that isn’t what caught the guy’s attention. He said, “It looks like you have rocks in here?” Question mark. “Ohhhhh, yeah,” totally forgetting I was bringing about 10 pounds of small 2- and 3-inch smooth rocks down to Costa Rica that I found up in the Columbia Gorge that I do dot painting on. I said, “Oh, yeah, they’re really beautiful. Do you want to see?” He did pull out one, a smooth, slightly reddish one, looked at me, rolled my eyes and let me go. Thanks for your story reminding me of strange things I’ve carried onto planes.
What’s not to love, black jelly beans, worth the hassle and a funny story. Enjoy your time!