They caught an 80-year-old woman at the Myrtle Beach Airport, on the old Air Force base there, trying to get on a plane with a walking cane.
When they X-rayed the cane during screening, they found a sword inside. Oops.
“She had no clue,” TSA spokesman Mark Howell said. The passenger’s son had picked the cane up second-hand somewhere.
So that’s it. We’ve just got to call in the government to regulate yard sales and antique shops now. The public just has to be protected.
I should have picked up on that during our trip one time to Spain.
Just two years after 9/11 we checked in at the Charlotte airport for our connector to Miami. There we were sitting almost alone on a slow, weekday afternoon. Only one other passenger would get on the plane with us.
Why do we have to check in so early and then just sit and wait?
After a while I got called over to the check-in desk.
On the phone was a nice-sounding supervisor who told me that he had been called in about our bag. But he had checked things out, and the two cans of cooking spray in our bag was OK. Our friends in Spain who we were going to see had mentioned that they couldn’t get cooking spray over there. So we thought we’d take them some.
Cooking spray? What nefarious thing could I do with cooking spray securely stowed with the baggage in the belly of the plane? I had no clue.
How about a TV trailer like this:
Harris strolls nonchalantly to the bathroom in back of the plane. He loosens a panel and shimmies down into the baggage hold where he grabs his Mazola can so he can diabolically spray canola on everyone’s Salisbury steak for dinner. Can our heroes stop him in time? Next on “24.”
So why did the airport guy call to tell me there was no problem?
Next, here we are in Spain, and my live-in flight companion just has to pick up some trinkets for everyone in the family back home. I suppose so they can boast to their friends that they have a genuine doo-dad from Spain that their crazy grandma gave ‘em.
For one of the boys she found a mounted, miniature flintlock revolver-looking something. There were no moving parts, no hole in the barrel. It was clearly to display only.
I should have mentioned to her that we have to fly back on a plane, you know. But I didn’t.
So we go through the airport line in Madrid, and they find the souvenir gun in a bag and faces turn grim. The line grinds to a halt. I started hearing Spanish words behind us that didn’t sound nice.
You can’t take the knickknack gun, a screener told us. And grandma started sobbing and wailing that her boy won’t get anything from Spain, and I tried to say comforting things like he already has a Weatherby Mark V so he’ll be all right.
Finally they call in someone from American Airlines who said they’ll safeguard the trinket and see what they can do. And to the airlines’ credit, they shipped it to us a couple of weeks later.
So these days I look around during a visit. There’s no Spanish flintlock to be seen. No Spanish senorita doll anywhere. Nothing that we got the family in Spain and nearly got locked up over has been kept and treasured. I bet our friends back in Spain don’t even have the cooking spray anymore.
About 25 to 30 POUNDS of banned items are confiscated at the Myrtle Beach Airport every MONTH, they said at a press conference to warn about boarding problems. Screeners there have confiscated everything from squishy stress balls designed to look like hand grenades to weed whackers and chain saws, they said.
I could have added: don’t bother. Kids just throw the junk away anyway.
On a personal note: This marks the seventh anniversary of the “Hometown” columns. Thanks for reading.
Stephen Harris returned home to live in State Road.
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