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.