Traveling alone: an assertive adventure Print
Grand Mom
Thursday, May. 20, 2010 -- 12:00 AM

Grand Mom by Audrey Mettel Fixmer

We were on our way to the airport, my daughter Kathi driving me, and I was sipping water from my new Thermos when I commented that it would be the first time for "alone travel" in many years, but with the wheel chair service provided by the airlines, it should be okay.

Kathi agreed that I should do well, what with my assertive personality and all. I wasn't sure that was a compliment, but still . . . It's true I'm no shrinking violet, and that might serve me well.

I was heading out to Colorado to spend a week with my son Tom and his wife Janet. I hadn't seen their new home that they purchased five years ago. And I hadn't spent Mother's Day with him since 1974 when he moved there with his family.

Also, I was excited to be there for my grandson Dylan's graduation from Colorado University in Boulder. Dylan (son of Tim and Carson) had e-mailed me the previous week to remind me of the temperamental weather in Colorado and to pack accordingly. "Be sure to carry a water bottle at all times, because the air is so dry," he warned.

New water thermos

Since Kathi was driving me to the airport, I asked her to loan me one of her water bottles. Kathi is the "Queen of Water Bottles" since her work as an occupational therapist requires her to travel between her patients' homes and hospital.

She is up on the latest technology and health studies about dangerous plastic containers, carrying not one, but two with her in her car.

So, much to my delight, she came to pick me up bearing my Mother's Day gift: a beautiful metal Thermos that "really keeps water cold even in the hot sun."

I couldn't wait to try it, so I washed it out thoroughly and filled it with ice-cubes and water for my trip to the airport. Colorado, here I come!

'Don't even think about it'

After seeing me proudly hand over the boarding pass I had printed from my computer and plop into the waiting wheel chair, Kathi kissed me goodbye and took off. I was snug and smug as my attendant cheerfully pushed me to the security check, where I arose like Lazarus and walked!

Reminding the security lady of my two artificial knees, and remembering not to have a rosary in my pocket (my hidden weapon of a previous travel) I submitted to the shoe removal, the divesting of purse, jacket, carry-on bag, and the holding my arms out for the pat-down.

I finished just in time to see the security police lift my beautiful new Thermos out of my bag, shake it, and with a "too-bad-you-lose" smirk on his face, threaten to toss it aside.

I could feel my face flush as it struck me that he was going to confiscate my water bottle. If I was a few years younger I might have leaped across the counter and snatched it from him.

As it is, I could only gasp and say, "Oh, I forgot to empty the water out of it! But don't even think about taking it away. I just got that from my daughter for Mother's Day!"

Assertive personality

Even as I said it, my daughter's words flashed through my mind. Was this what she meant when she said I was assertive? Well, okay. It could be a good thing.

In this instance it was, because the nice security guard meekly replied, "In that case, I guess I could go and empty it for you." And he did. I was lucky, but I would not make that mistake again.

Two days later at the graduation dinner I told this story to my granddaughter Natalie. She laughed and replied, "Oh, Grandma, I see a Grand Mom column coming out of this adventure."

Do my kids and grandkids know me or what?

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