A weekend not soon forgotten.
It was a Friday in September, three days before I would be leaving for Istanbul to attend the meeting of an international professional association. I had deep ties to this group ranging from projecting slides for the keynote speaker at the very first meeting in 1970 to serving as president at this meeting 25 years later. Also, I had visited Turkey briefly a few times before and was looking forward to returning.
I packed my carry on with the usual items that were versatile, washable and comfortable plus the electronics to keep me connected and of course my medicines. I had my tickets and passport. Hold on a minute. My passport. Where was it? I had no clue. I searched the house three times – no passport.
So, when did I last use it? That was easy. Last summer I made a quick trip from our summer residence to Toronto and that required a passport. It must be in Michigan.
Saturday morning I drove to the top of the lower peninsula, a tad under 500 miles, to our summer home. I was sure it would be there. After driving seven hours, I spent two hours looking everywhere – no passport. Back in the car defeated I drove seven more hours back home. By the time I reached Fort Wayne, three quarters of the way, I was simply following two taillights in front of me and hoping they stayed on the road. Fourteen hours behind the wheel and 1,000 miles driving for naught!
Sunday was a bad day, I got up early and started a project to remove damaged drywall in the basement caused earlier by another boneheaded act on my part, turning on the water in a utility sink and forgetting it for four hours. You can fill in the blanks. Meanwhile, my wife Barbara, who was legendary for getting things done on the phone, contacted the passport emergency line in Chicago. Two hours later she had an appointment for me to get a new passport on Monday morning at 10:00 am.
I left Indianapolis, a little after 5:00 am and arrived in downtown Chicago well before my appointed time. After a few hiccups including not having my birth certificate with me I received my passport shortly after 1:00 PM.
My plane was to leave Indianapolis at 5:00 pm. It would go to Chicago where I would board a non-stop to Istanbul. Since time was tight and I was already in Chicago, I called the airline. Their answer was NO. I had to start my flight in the city of origin as stated on my ticket.
So, I raced back to Indianapolis headed directly to the airport. I arrived just in time. In the security check when I handed my passport to the agent. I made the casual remark, “I bet you don’t see many passports with the passenger wearing the same clothes as the picture?”. He didn’t get it. Pretty lame on my part but it helped relieve the tension.
Everything got easier after that and the meeting went well. Nothing could have been more stressful than getting there.
By Savvy Senior
The next summer when we returned to our vacation house I walked directly into the closet, pushed aside the shirttails that were blocking a wire shelf below and saw the small black carry on I had taken to Canada. In it was my missing passport.
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