2006.11.30 Flying with a turkey is a piece of cake

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

We were standing in line at the security checkpoint at Detroit Metro airport, all our carry-on belongings on the conveyor belt, feeling rather naked with our pockets emptied and shoes off, when I looked down at David’s feet.

“Hey, you’re wearing two different socks,” I pointed out. “One’s Gold Toe and one’s not.”

“One’s mine and one’s yours,” he replied.

It’s always fun flying with David. In the days before everybody had to remove their shoes at the security gate, his always set off the alarm, and he was always hobbling behind the rest of the family trying to walk and tie his shoes at the same time. I’m sure I had suggested before we left home that he wear his easy-to-slip-on-and-off Crocs on the plane, but I didn’t notice the hard-to-tie long-laced shoes on his feet until we were going through security. I told him he was going to have to take them off.

“How do you know they’re going to set off the alarm?” he asked.

“Everybody has to take off their shoes now,” I said. So he hobbled behind us, trying to remove his shoes and keep up with the moving line. He’s always out of step when he travels with us and, invariably, he sets off the alarm with one thing or another.

“What made it ding?” I asked as we were pulling our belongings off the conveyor belt.

“I don’t know,” he said. “My watch? The three little stubby pencils that all have metal on the end?”

It didn’t matter really. We had arrived well in advance after rushing like crazy to heed the e-mail warning from the airline the night before—arrive two hours before take-off time.

To be fair, traveling with me is no picnic either, especially since we were headed for Miami to spend a few days with our son Ben and his girlfriend Sarah over Thanksgiving—the biggest food extravaganza of the year. When Ben and I were discussing the menu, we naturally talked turkey. I offered to bring one of Zachel’s and he thought that was a good idea.

Later, his housemate told him you can’t bring turkeys on the plane. I didn’t want to go to the trouble of bringing a turkey only to have it chucked out, so I checked with the airline. They said I could take a turkey as long as I signed a form saying I wouldn’t hold the airline accountable if there was a problem with the turkey’s condition when it arrived. With that green light, I placed my order.

David thought it was a little crazy bringing a turkey all the way to Florida, but I had the details worked out, right down to the 13 frozen water bottles to keep the turkey cold on its 1300-mile journey. My boss, Liz, rounded up a thick Omaha Steaks styrofoam cooler and that fit perfectly into a cardboard box. At first, I figured I would just claim the box as one of my pieces of checked luggage, but when the box fit perfectly into our biggest suitcase, one with wheels even, I was all set—as long as the turkey fit in the cooler and David didn’t protest too much.

I lamented to Ben in an e-mail.

“Dad thinks it's crazy to bring a turkey and nuts to bring the roasting pan (maybe because I want it to go in his suitcase...but at least he's taking a suitcase instead of a paper bag).”

Actually, when I heard David tell his parents that I wanted to put the roaster pan in his suitcase, it did sound kind of absurd. Ben decided to buy a roaster pan—maybe he was starting to worry about the turkey-induced marital discord.

The turkey made it to Miami in fine form, and even though I followed bits and pieces of at least five recipes and the advice of three people, it cooked up just fine and dandy. That’s not so obvious in the photo Rozee took of it with me, David and Ben, though. The poor turkey is overshadowed by the image on Ben’s apron. It depicts the chest to knees section of Michelangelo’s David statue—life-size and stark naked.

Maybe David should try going through security like that.

    -November 30, 2006 

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