Many, many antique socks. They look so . . . antique.

A Christmas Carol

Dear Ann,
‘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.
Love, Kay



  1. We fly west on Thursday – hope we get Suzanne!!! Loved your story re: midflight upchucking – we’ve all been there sister!

  2. This is a Christmas story for the ages!

  3. That is so great! Hope TinyJoseph feels better.

  4. Ok Kay, so sorry for the boy and for you. The Festival of Bodily Fluids on a plane? You, Joseph and Suzanna all deserve a medal. She could pin it on her Haz-Mat suit. Hope Omaha treats you well.

  5. Great story and I hope Tiny Joseph is doing better! Poor baby!

  6. Wow, what a great story. In my family, the great story was that there were no fights, knowing glares or eye rolls all day. Might be something to that angel theory…

  7. Glad all the Cratchits got to Omaha safely. Yeah, air travel sucks. The TSA are particularly bad. About the only good thing that I have to say about them is they treat everyone equally badly. Of course, I have sympathy for them too, it’s not fun having to search everyone, knowing that if they screwed up the consequences can be dire.
    hope that you all have a nice break.

  8. Hope that Tiny Joseph is feeling better and that the flight home is much better.
    Happy holidays to all the Cratchits 🙂

  9. So SO glad the cards got out. Whew! 😉

  10. All hail Suzanna! And the TSA boy with the bag o’stamped cards! And the little bits of humanity that stand up against the giant mass of same.

  11. Wow, you did find two Christmas angels. How wonderful! You should write Suzanna’s bosses and tell them how wonderful she is.

  12. Leaving for the airport . . . am reading your tale with total amusement, dire though your experience sounds . . . so glad you got through it all.
    Please feed the blog while I’m away! Good luck with your new teaching career in Omaha!!!!Happy new year!!! Hugs to everybody!!!!!

  13. Poor little Tiny Joseph. What a total Christmas bummer to hurl right there in front of the world. I am so happy everyone was nice to him and I most sincerely know what “the sigh” is so feel with you on that. I hope the rest of your trip was wonderful.

  14. I love Suzanna Duran and I’m not even Tiny Joseph’s mother. Our family always says times like these are no fun, but they make great stories – thanks for sharing yours with us.

  15. That post is priceless. It rivals Franklin’s bus passengers/did you learn that in prison post for Best Knitblogger Post of the Year. Halos for Suzanna. Heck, halos for everyone. Enjoy the Omaha family time.

  16. Poor Tiny Joseph. What an amazing story.

  17. Priceless! Let’s hope Suzanne’s boss reads this.
    Happy Holidays, Cratchits. You deserve them!

  18. I’ve heard the sigh. Like on the train under the Channel to France, after I fed Arthur that old grapefruit. Ohh.
    And to all a good night….

  19. Okay, I’m just in the perfect kind of mood for a story like this — maybe ANY story that you told, my dear Kay, because I was reading it and laughing and crying and simply bathing myself in the funness of the way you tell it.
    And can we all please send Suzanna some handknit socks and gloves, or maybe a cashmere scarf? What an angel she is, indeed.

  20. Happy Holidays to the Mason-Dixon clans! Hope Tiny Joseph is doing better… and you did luck out with two angels – you must be deserving or something! 🙂

  21. It’s so nice to meet some wonderful people in the midst of all the holiday rushing! Poor Joseph. Poor Kay. I hope you all enjoy your time in Omaha!

  22. Can I just ditto Norma ?
    Season’s Greetings !

  23. tears. I have tears. when I hear about human kindness… and generosity….when I hear about good things that happen in airports and airplanes.. I once again believe that we humans just might make it afterall.
    I have hope for the future.

  24. I am officially a Parent ™ now, because your story brought tears to my eyes!
    I hope the rest of your trip was uneventful, except in good ways. 🙂

  25. I see another book in the making;) Poor Tiny Joseph and Mrs. Cratchit.

  26. And, isn’t it odd how they keep flying those tiny regional jets farther and farther? We went to New Orleans in December on one, 3 1/2 hours is just too long, Omaha must be longer?

  27. You definitely need to write Suzanna’s boss ( the head flight attendant?) about her. And I would say the same about the TSA boy, except he would probably get into trouble for going above and beyond. But it’s so sweet that he did!
    Have fun in Omaha!

  28. Awww . . . I’m wiping holiday tears from my eyes right now . . . what a beautiful story. Merry Christmas!

  29. Wonderful how Christmas can bring out the best in people! (And the worst, but we’ll not discuss that.)
    Enjoy your time in Ohama, and Merry Day After Christmas!

  30. TSA? Isn’t that an acronym for “Takes Scissors Away”? Seriously, whatever holiday travel rancor I felt while reading your story was broken down by the kind TSA agent offering to mail your holiday cards and then completely washed away by the angel masquerading as a flight attendant. A Koigu sock has been cast on in her honor.

  31. Kay, thank you so much for lightening a really quite trying day with your really quite trying day. I hope Tiny Joseph has recovered and that he will fly better on the way home.
    Seasons greetings to all.

  32. What a lovely story!
    We have had barfy kids on a plane and all we got were the sighers…but it wasn’t Christmas time.
    Hope you have a lovely midwestern visit.
    PS my family always wants to know why I am laughing while reading your blog

  33. What a lovely story!
    We have had barfy kids on a plane and all we got were the sighers…but it wasn’t Christmas time.
    Hope you have a lovely midwestern visit.
    PS my family always wants to know why I am laughing while reading your blog

  34. What a lovely story!
    We have had barfy kids on a plane and all we got were the sighers…but it wasn’t Christmas time.
    Hope you have a lovely midwestern visit.
    PS my family always wants to know why I am laughing while reading your blog

  35. Oh dear. I’m afraid I laughed when I read Tiny Joseph hurled. Poor little fella.
    But really, aren’t you just glad you didn’t have to clean it up? I think that’s the worst thing in the world to clean.

  36. Suzanna and the passengers on that plane sound like they were heaven sent.

  37. As one who frequently puked in cars and on planes and boats as a child, I offer Joseph my deepest sympathy. As a mother of 7, some of whom have been sick and/or screamed uncontrollably for hours at the worst possible times, I sympathize deeply with you. Thank goodness you had sympathetic help!

  38. I hope Tiny Joseph is all better, and I hope that the Gameboy came through the ordeal unscathed.
    I had a bit of a barf fest myself, at work, in the early hours of Dec. 26. There’s nothing better than lying on the none-too-clean bathroom floor at work, I tell ya.
    Have fun in Omaha!

  39. Dear Mrs Cratchit
    Whilst filled with sympathy for Tiny Joseph and delighted to hear of his speedy recovery, I do hope you let the little darling starve ? Having been the victim many times of the too quick recovery often evidenced by tiny people – only to receive the full force of the subsequent relapse, generally all down my jumper I find – I would hate to hear that Suzanna’s halo slipped ??

  40. Ahhh… so good to hear when all those nice things you do for people are noticed. I mean, when you can notice all the nice things people do for you. I mean, isn’t that nice? I hope O-O-O-Omaha is as nice as all that.

  41. I laughed and giggled until my husband insisted I read it aloud to him. We’ve both spent too many hours on planes/airports. Yeah, Suzanna! Chin up Tiny Joseph. Enjoy the holidays.

  42. I remember getting rather ill while circling Newark!! The angel is the same angel that’s on my tree. I finally pried it away from my mother a few years ago! Hope Joseph makes it back home with no illness of an kind! Happy New Year!

  43. Poooooor Joseph! Poor you! And what an Angel Suzanne Duran is (and what a way cool name she has). As someone who dreads the least bit of turbulance for fear of throwing up, Joseph has my full sympathies. Anyway, I hope you’ve put it behind you and had a fabby Christmas all of you. This time tomorrow I shall be in the hallowed halls of Liberty, gossiping with Ann, and I may take a trip to the Art section in the basement and think of gossiping there with you. Fear not! that we shall be having a Dickensian time, the weather here is just SO not Dickie’s sort of weather (just grey and damp).
    x x x x x

  44. Thank Heaven for an Angel on an airplane!

  45. Hope things were better when you got your feet on the ground. A long time ago when my kids were little I was on a little commuter plane where we were not able to get seats together. No amount of pleading that the children needed to sit by their mother would sway the business travellers already comfy in their seats. My 3-year-old was going to have to sit by herself, being braver than the 5-year-old and more independent than the baby. I took The Bag from the seat and showed her how to use it “in case you get airsick and need to throw up.” You should have seen the sudden rush of travellers anxious to be kind to the little family travelling alone without dad so that we could sit together.

  46. Hi all! I have a question about the felted boxes in the Mason-Dixon book…regarding the guage–is it for one strand or two of the Lamb’s Pride bulky? Maybe it’s obvious and I’m just missing it. Thanks for your help in advance. C.

  47. What a great story! I was a Flight Attendant for 27 years and have been in Suzanne’s shoes many times. ( and as the mom of a 15 yr old not-as-good-a-flyer-as his-mom-but-very-well-traveled son, I’ve been in your shoes before too. No fun either way!) It’s sure no fun to travel anymore, what with that pesky TSA. Glad I retired 2 years ago and started working in a LYS!!

  48. I know “the sigh” and in fact may have even been the Sigher in the days before baby. Bless the patience of everyone during the holidays!

  49. And to think—some people don’t believe in angels here on earth. Sounds to me like you met two 😉

  50. Welcome home, Kay. Wish there were more room in that class at String of Purls!

  51. Sorry for the little guy urking on the plane–you all should be getting Profile in Courage Award in the mail any minute now. The TSA nearly strip-searched my little boy in Salt Lake City last summer, and the “metal blade” they thought they saw turned out to be, yes, the peace medallion he’d bought as a souvenir. Thanks for the lovely blogfest, Kay and Ann.

  52. Been there … two words Bo-nine, OTC and it actually works! Now I can fly and eat within the 12 hrs prior to a flight (or even during the flight).

  53. So sorry to hear about Tiny Joseph but all of those kind angels in the airport and on the plane that is unheard of today. Nice to hear some people still have a little heart.

  54. ” Oh, but the best was remember that christmas plane barf story”
    Thats how this post will always be remembered.cheers.

  55. Oh, my. You poor, poor Cratchits! I haven’t had to deal with airplane barf, but I have had the crying child during turbulence who couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t let her out of her seat to go to the bathroom when she was about to wet her pants (she didn’t).
    The sigh. I hate the sigh. You are SO lucky. I actually heard an idiot in the waiting area once complaining about the number of children there appeared to be on his flight — he actually told his friend that tney should be shot. I nearly held my just-fed baby over him and pushed on her tummy to make her puke on him. ;->
    You should send a note to the airline, giving Suzanna kudos. No one goes out of their way to praise any more, and since good service is so rare these days, she deserves a big pat on the back.

  56. Sounds to me as if you were truly blessed on that flight Kay. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that you are getting ready to pop open the bubbly for this evening.

  57. A Quiet blog is disturbing. Please post soon. I’m starting to shake over here, I need a new blog fix!
    Happy New Year to all!

  58. A Quiet blog is disturbing. Please post soon. I’m starting to shake over here, I need a new blog fix!
    Happy New Year to all!

  59. What a great post – really put a smile on my face! I try to be the “nice angel” to others but it ain’t always easy. I do so appreciate when others are kind and helpful to me when I especially need it (like when vomit is involved).

  60. Happy New Year to you! 🙂
    Have you seen this:

  61. Hello! great idea of color of this siyte!

  62. Sorry, but what is mariburjeka?

  63. Sorry, but what is mariburjeka?

  64. Sorry, but what is mariburjeka?


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