A Christmas Carol
December 26, 2006
‘Twas two nights before Christmas, and the Cratchits were in the Newark Airport, hoping to get on a plane to Omaha at some point in their lives. Mrs. Cratchit and Bob aka Hubby Cratchit were getting a mite testy with each other, seeing as how Bob worked later than he was supposed to that afternoon. If you must know, Mrs. Cratchit thinks Scrooge & Marley takes up a bit too much of Bob’s family time, but Bob has a soft spot in his heart for old Scrooge, who he insists on referring to as ‘my client’.
Anyway, Mrs. Cratchit was feeling decidedly NOT Dickensian. One loses the Christmas spirit, somehow, when one’s little children are made to take off their sneakers in the security line. God Bless Us Every One, including the TSA, but the TSA could be a little less …. crabby. Couldn’t they? So bossy! One TSA guy had obviously had enough with those who are not well-versed in their Imperial Units of Measure. As the little Cratchits struggled to load their backpacks into gray plastic bins, he shouted out, to no one in particular, “Three-point-four ounces, people! Ziploc bag! This rule is older than my GRANDMOTHER!”
“Dear me,” thought Mrs. Cratchit, and hoped that his grandmother was not nearby.
Once through the security line, Mrs. Cratchit began wandering Concourse C, raggedy offspring trailing. Among her many items of hand luggage, she clutched a plastic bag from the Fairway grocery store, stuffed with all of the Cratchits’ holiday greeting cards. She had meant to mail them in New York, but the day’s chores of packing and yelling at the little Cratchits had prevented her from leaving the house. She had remembered, very distinctly, that there was a mailbox in Terminal C at the Newark airport. She spied an off-duty TSA agent, and asked him where the mailbox was. ‘Oh, there’s a mailbox all right, but it’s on the other side of the security line.’
At this news, Mrs. Cratchit nearly thought to herself, ‘BLAST!’ But she said thank you and tried not to notice that the Fairway bag was getting holes in it. The Fairway bag was going to have to make it to Omaha.
It was then that another TSA agent, who was the minimum age one could possibly be and still be a TSA agent (he looked about 16), having overheard Mrs. Cratchit’s request, approached her.
“Ma’am, I am getting off duty just now. If you can wait for me to sign out, I will come back and get your cards and mail them for you.”
Mrs. Cratchit stood there blinking. Perhaps she was in the wrong movie. Maybe this was It’s a Wonderful Life, and this TSA agent was an angel. Which would explain his beautiful skin.
A few minutes later, the TSAngel returned. He gently took the Fairway bag. He told Mrs. Cratchit she could follow him if she liked, and watch him mail the cards on the other side of the security line. Mrs. Cratchit said, no, thank you very much. That won’t be necessary.
(I know you think I’m lying, but this really happened. If it was all a scheme to get a sackful of Gee’s Bend Quilt Stamps, so be it. But it really did happen.)
Angel The Second
Miraculously, given the news reports of people camping out in Newark for days while waiting for their flights, the Cratchits’ plane soared westward. Mrs. Cratchit was seated next to Tiny Joseph, who was angelically playing his Gameboy. It was a small regional jet staffed with only one flight attendant, the beauteous Suzanna Duran. Mrs. Cratchit was not in the habit of learning the Christian names of flight attendants, but she made it a point to learn Suzanna’s, for reasons that will be clear in, like, a minute.
Suzanna is one of those smiling flight attendants. In the Day, she would have worked for Braniff Airlines and worn a very short skirt. Foxy! Kindly! Foxy AND Kindly! Suzanna was making her way to the front of the plane, serving soft drinks and pretzels. She made a point of asking Tiny Joseph for his order without going through Mrs. Cratchit. She gave Tiny Joseph a full can of Sprite and allowed him to open it himself. She proceeded to the next passenger. It was then that Tiny Joseph looked up at Mrs. Cratchit and said, ‘I feel a little sick.’
Dear reader, you know what happened next. It happened with a vengeance. A barf fest that has not been seen on this knitting blog since Tiny Clif had that problem in the middle of the night a few weeks ago.
Mrs. Cratchit managed to catch Barfs 3 and 4 in the bag that says ‘Occupied’. Suzanna returned and started opening up Moist Towelettes for Mrs. Cratchit. The Moist Towelettes are mighty, but they were no match for the situation in seats 5B and C.
What happened next, I am pretty sure I dreamed. Suzanna zipped open a special kit that had been stowed aft. In a twinkling, she had donned a full-body white hazmat apron (with sleeves), a mask, and gloves. Still smiling behind her mask (I’m sure of it), she chirped, “Can you believe, I’ve worked here for 3 years and I’ve never gotten to do this!” Mrs. Cratchit and Tiny Joseph vacated their seats and limped miserably to the back of the plane.
But everybody was nice to them! One guy said confidentially to Tiny Joseph, ‘It was like a roller coaster there for a minute buddy; I nearly threw up myself.” Tiny Joseph continued to look at the floor, but was cheered nonetheless. Many well-dressed ladies nodded as if to say, ‘I hate when this happens, you poor things.’ Not a single person sighed. (Parents who have flown with children: you know what I am talking about when I say, ‘The Sigh’.)
Five minutes later, Mrs. Cratchit and Tiny Joseph were back in their seats. Tiny Joseph asked if there was anything to eat. He was feeling much better.
This is how Suzanna looked in her hazmat suit.
Have fun in London, and say hi to the Ghost of Christmas Present for me.