I traveled to Nashville last week to visit my son, daughter-in-law and my granddaughter. It was so much fun and I feel totally blessed in the time we spent together. It came at a time when I really needed a lift and a bit of a change of scenery. To them I will be forever grateful for it was wonderful.
On Friday I was dropped off at the airport to begin my journey home. As I was going through the security check-in, I noticed arriving passengers walking from the secure area into the terminal. All at once a little boy, overcome with the excitement of seeing his grandpa, took off running toward him. Of course, all the security bells and whistles went off as I watched the father apologize profusely, his face overcome with fear.
It took me back. I suddenly remembered how it used to feel when you got off the plane and walked into the arms of family. My mind was flooded with the memories of seeing people off, watching their plane back up from the gate, roll down the runway and eventually take off. I remembered the time I came home from Alaska and saw my Dad and step-mom waiting at the gate. We all hugged and talked furiously as we made our way toward baggage claim. My son and daughter were passed from one set of arms to another. It was part of the adventure.
In the big scheme of things, this is so small and I suppose rather insignificant to some. It’s just a memory now. Something that we will never see again. It makes me a little nostalgic. Travel is now so lonely. You get dropped off at the departure area. You check your luggage. You take off your shoes and work your way through security. There are no smiles and no light-hearted discussions. I see people digging to make sure they have a photo-id and boarding pass in hand. I watch as young mothers have their babies’ formula poured out – oops didn’t think it was over three ounces. There are benches at the end of the security check point so you can re-dress and get yourself together. Your family is long gone by now because they can only park outside while you load and unload. I do understand it all and I want it secure. It’s just a time gone by.
At least we have cell phones and texting. When the plane arrives at the gate you can text someone and say ‘I’m here. Going to baggage claim. Will text when I have my bags.’ The moment of elation when you see the familiar face smiling and friends and family waving doesn’t exist any more. The pick-up driver circles unless your airport has a cell phone waiting lot. You get your bags, they pull up once they know you are outside, you load your luggage and jump in the car.
I miss the long hugs at the gate. I miss the excited little faces that run toward their grandparents. I miss the excitement of seeing the plane pull up and back away from the gate. I miss trying to see through the window of the plane for that final wave goodbye.
Is it a lost freedom? I suppose. Is it necessary? Of course. Will we ever see those times again? I doubt it.
I guess it’s another thing we tell our grandchildren about; ‘Back in the day….’
Yes, some things just slip away without us stopping to notice. And somewhere a little boy may set off alarms as he runs into the arms of a very excited grandpa. And in a weird sort of way, that makes me smile.