Dear One and I have returned from a trip to the American West and one of our most favourite states. (can you guess from the picture???) Three weeks of traipsing around retina popping scenery, staying in a variety of lovely and some quirky accommodations, and enjoying some seriously delicious food. We travel at our own pace, seeing sights that we choose and letting the serendipity of each day unfold.
Since we flew to point west and rented a car rather than driving our own car from home, antiquing was going to be of the window shopping variety and not the throw it in the back of the hatch variety. DARN.
HOWEVER, not to be completely paralyzed, we did find a way to ship home a fabulous rustic sign and pick up a few things that fit into our carry on suitcases. All proceeding well, until we stopped into a vintage shop on the doorstep of one of Our National Parks.
Bullseye-- a gorgeous, labelled heavy english leather vintage 1920s suitcase. Patina to squeal about. Price incredible. Had to have it. And Dear One suggested we could buy it and use it to pack other smalls we bought along the way, and then use it as our free check in on the way home. Winner winner chicken dinner!
Great plan. The case was heavy and the locks worked and did not lock. We had brought a TSA approved locking luggage strap, so we were in good shape to keep our case and purchases safe.
Fast forward to airport check in for the journey home. Early morning flight, first in TSA line in an airport the size of an Aldi store. Conversation went thusly:
Agent: Good morning ma'am. Do you have firearms in that bag?
Me: Wwwwwwwwhat?? No-no I do not. Dirty underwear and small purchases.
Agent: Does this case lock?
Me: No--it has the TSA approved strap--and the latches don't lock. Let's open it up.
Agent: No -that won't be necessary. (as he moved closer and definitely into my personal space) There are no weapons in your case, is that right???
Me: Correct. Happy to open it--it will be pretty dense in your xray, as there are books and some metal cans. (Hindsight--metal cans were a set of 1920s french enamelware kitchen cannisters stacked inside one another. Note to self--do not tell TSA your luggage contains metal cans!)
FAST FORWARD to Beautiful Chicago O'Hare Airport. Luggage Return Number 9. Yup, you guessed it. No suitcase.
Finally Dear One checked his phone. Text message from TSA that my suitcase had been sent to Chicago on an earlier plane and was being held in the unclaimed luggage cage. WHAT??? I thought passenger luggage had to travel on the plane you flew on--at least that is the way it used to be.
Alls well as I find an agent who reunited me with Mr. Fine English Leather. At least I think it was my case as it was covered in blue and white stickie TSA tape and a limp rainbow luggage strap. Upon opening, there was enough paper disclaimer literature to kindling a bonfire.
The lengths we go to to find good inventory, huh???
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