A Little Tip for You


Mother’s suitcase looks a lot like this except it’s shinier and has lots of shiny brass

At four this morning, I dropped Mother off at the airport to accompany Phyllis on a trip to visit my niece, Amee in North Carolina.  That was the tail-end of my story and the very beginning of Phyllis’s, Mother’s, and Amee’s. I was not jealous at all as Phyllis wrestled Mother’s bag out of the car. I look forward to some stories when they return.

A little backstory, when you travel with an eighty-eight year-old-lady, you can look forward to some special circumstances.  First of all, Mother is diminutive.  Though she enjoys excellent health and walks without difficulty, her short, little legs make connections a challenge.  We always order her a wheelchair for connections.  She’s also tight, so her travel buddy have better have a little cash for the attendant or risk embarrassment as Mother fumbles pretending to look for her dollar.  She always looks so gratified when someone else covers the tip.  She’s been fumbling with that same dollar for years.

She spent the night with me, so she cleaned out my refrigerator to pack a lunch for the two of them.  That  lunch bag probably weighed ten pounds and was a lot more precious to her than her carry on.  She had four boiled eggs and four biscuits for their breakfast, English Pea Salad, chicken salad, leftover brisket in gravy, a sleeve of saltines, and two apples for lunch.  They could have served a buffet to everyone in coach from the look of that bulging bag.

Mother refuses to pay to check her bag, reasoning she’s riding through the airport in a wheelchair with her bag any way.  Normally, I’d agree, but on our last trip, she’d opted for a “cute, little, old-fashioned metal suitcase, just like they used in the forties.”  Well, there’s a really good reason nobody uses those anymore.  Hers boasts roughly the weight and convenience of a safe.  Not only that, even though it’s small, it takes up a lot of space in the overhead bin and infuriates stewards when they have to help out.  If that’s not bad enough, it has a couple of rough edges that have been known to scratch.  On the first leg of our last trip, the handle broke loose, making it even more difficult to manage without maiming unsuspecting passengers for the rest of the trip.  Unfortunately, a well-meaning friend repaired it for her.  When we got home, I suggested she save that suitcase for automobile trips since airline trips were sure to ruin it.

We got up at three-thirty to be sure we got Mother’s coffee and got her to the airport on time.  Of course, Mother was concerned that Phyllis might oversleep.  Happily, Phyllis was waiting for us outside when we drove up.  As I hugged Mother goodbye, Phyllis struggled to get Mother’s “cute, little, old-fashioned suitcase from the back seat.  I look forward to hearing more about that.