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Spires: Nana and the TSA
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Spires: Nana and the TSA

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We brought Bev’s mother back with us from Pennsylvania last week and I would be amiss if I didn’t share with you the experience.

At 93 years old, she was a real trooper and did exceptionally well.

I am paranoid when it comes to flying – not the flying part, but the getting there part.

Twice over the years I have been delayed reaching the airport because of traffic problems. Both times I made it to the gate just as they were calling for the last passengers.

It was in Atlanta by the way, that place is a nightmare to navigate when you are in a hurry.

Our first leg of the trip was from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to Atlanta. A two-hour flight from boarding the plane to walking off the plane.

We got there in plenty of time, primarily because of my paranoia about being delayed. It turned out I was right, just not about the drive to the airport.

We had a wheelchair for Nana and a very good fellow to help us, thanks to Delta Airlines.

Everything was going perfect until we got to the TSA check-in.

Nana, it seems, looked like a terrorist, setting off several alarms as she went through the body scan. She is still able to walk fairly well, but needs a little help.

For the next 20 minutes, we were delayed while they ran her shoes through the X-ray machine and swabbed them down three or four times looking for something.

I heard one of the TSA ladies say as she laid them on the table that they were “Okay.”

My carry-on had been gone through, with most of the stuff taken out. I guess I was the lucky number whose carry-on was to be searched. We put an iPad and a reader in there as well as our medication in clear plastic bags. All of that and Nana’s pocketbook were placed on a table and I was told we could not have it until they searched her.

Remember, this is 93-year-old women now sitting back in her wheelchair (it passed with flying colors) with no shoes on. They had her coat, too, and she is always cold. At one time there were four people standing there with her.

When we asked what the problem was, they told us she had set off some alarms and they needed the supervisor to search her.

It took a few minutes for the supervisor to arrive. They then took her, along with Bev, to a room and searched her again.

I’m standing there watching as several dozen people are processed through the TSA line with no problem.

They did “wand” both Bev and I, saying I had something on my stomach, and she had something on her shoulder. Of course, there was nothing there.

They finally let Nana out of the room, where I was told they did a thorough search.

The TSA folks were nice enough and apologetic for delaying us. I’m simply curious as to how many explosives they have caught 93-year-old people with since they started checking us onto planes.

On the other hand, I’m glad they are checking us, because the last thing I would want would be to get on a plane with a terrorist. As a matter of fact, if that were to happen, it would be the last thing I did.

Byron Spires is a retired newspaper editor. He has written dozens of short stories and serials in the Havana Herald. He recently published “The Curious Life of Marci Bell” in a series of three books. You can email him at byronspires51@gmail.com.

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