One of Mom’s favorite “I Love Lucy” episodes is when Lucy tries to smuggle cheese on an airplane, even pretending it’s her baby, but ends up eating most of it to try to get rid of the evidence. We all love Lucy, but Mom especially loves her. I think it’s because she sees so much of herself in the character.
Although Mom has never smuggled cheese, some of her antics at the airport are very “Lucy-esc.”
Mom loves carrying a large purse while traveling, because she can fit so much stuff into it, and Mom believes in being prepared for anything. Her large capacity purse has been very convenient for me, too; whenever I don’t want to hold something, Mom is a good sport about putting it in her purse for me. Everything seems to find its way to Mom’s purse. Even food.
I have never liked eating on an airplane. In the days when they used to give meals on domestic flights, Mom always wanted to sit next to me because she knew she’d get all of my food in addition to hers. Anything that she could easily store and save for later went right into her purse. During a lay-over one time, I asked Mom for my book, which, of course, was in her purse. When Mom handed me my book, I saw it was all slimy and gooey, and not just on the outside, but also smashed into the pages.
“What is this all over my book?” I asked her. She was puzzled, too, and worried that the goo might be all over the inside of her purse. She investigated. Sure enough, all the contents were contaminated with slimy, disgusting goo. Finally, with a sheepish grin, Mom reached to bottom of her purse and pulled out a banana skin. Not a whole banana, just the skin. The rest of the once ripe and perfect fruit had been pulverized in her purse and turned into goo.
Of course, Mom thought this was funny. I tried to clean off my book, but I couldn’t get rid of the banana smell (I hate bananas). I guess whenever I read the book I made a funny face, because whenever Mom saw me with the book, she started giggling again. I decided to hold onto my own things from then on.
Another instance regarding fruit in an airport happened when I lived out of state and had flown home to visit the folks. Mom and Dad live on several acres of land and have a couple hundred avocado trees. They know how much I love avocados, so as I was packing to go back home, Dad entered my room with a bag full of avocados he had just picked for me. What a treat!
I tucked avocados in all the edges of the suitcase, making sure to get them all in. When we arrived at the airport, Mom walked with me to the check-in counter. As I set my suitcase on the scale, the attendant said, “Sorry, your bag is overweight and we’ll have to charge you $50.” What?!
I asked her to give me a moment so that I could move some things from the luggage to my purse (like mother like daughter). Mom quickly got to work, helping to transfer avocado after avocado to my purse. When the purse was full (there were still a lot of avocados in the suitcase, but surely we removed enough…), we zipped up the luggage and stepped back to the counter.
“There,” I said a little smugly, my shoulder already sagging under the extra weight in my purse, “that ought to meet the weight requirements now.”
“Still over the weight limit,” the attendant declared very matter-of-factly. The woman had no sense of humor, but Mom did, and she started to think this was funny. Giggling, Mom grabbed my suitcase off the scale, and opened it again.
“I don’t have any more room in my purse,” I whispered to Mom. But Mom knew what to do. She started shoving avocados in her pockets. One went in each jacket pocket, one in each pants pocket (Mom loves clothes with pockets!). But she was running out of space, too. She tried to fit one more in her pants pocket, but the pocket wasn’t quite big enough. The avocado dropped out and rolled across the floor.
That’s when the giggle fit hit Mom. And of course, the more she giggled, the less coordinated she was. She doubled over, unable to move for a moment, shaking in silent laughter. I braved a glance around and saw that the entire line of waiting customers was staring at us, with less than supportive looks. Mom finally got her giggling under control, and bulging with avocados from every crevice, she announced that she thought my case would be light enough now.
She was right. The attendant checked me in, practically glaring at me.
I waved a final goodbye to Mom, whostruggled to wave back without dropping any more avocados. As I saw her cradling avocados in her arms, giggling again, I thought of Lucy with the cheese, and realized (not for the first time) that Mom was perhaps the silliest person I knew.