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Wed, April 24

Around the Bluhmin' Town: Silverware 'smuggler' finds fast security checkpoint not so quick

I almost got arrested. Okay, or possibly taken into a windowless room with two frighteningly big, uniformed men who never smile. Yes, I am the person who tried to “break all the rules” while going through security at the Portland airport. And those TSA agents were not real friendly. My daughter, Tammy and I went to Portland for a few days so we could stand on a soggy beach in the cold drizzly rain to watch my grandson, Sean, get married.

Okay, so much for the fun part. On our way back Tammy had to go through the regular security line and I got lucky (or so I thought) and got to go through the fast pre-TSA checkpoint. Great! No need to take off my shoes (gross) or take my computer out of the case. This is a dream! But, then the nightmare began.

I couldn’t help but notice three TSA agents staring at my purse as it went through the X-ray conveyor belt and then it was pulled off to the side. Five minutes passed. I wait. Then a stern looking agent calls over to me and asks, “Do you have something in your purse that can harm me?”

Stunned, I just said, “Of course not!”

Then he has a discussion with another TSA agent and my purse is set inside a bin. For ten minutes.

Hey, I am about to miss my plane! My cellphone is in my purse. I cannot call my daughter (she is frantically waiting at the gate). A group of pilots were coming through the TSA checkpoint and I said, “Help, my purse is being held hostage.”

A very kind pilot tried to intercede, but the TSA agent pointed a finger at him and yelled, “This is my job. Stay out of it.” Oh Lordy help me.

Finally, two big burly agents carried my purse over to a side table and told me to follow them.

One said, “You have a weapon in your purse.”

I blurted out, “No way!”

He then said, “You have a knife in your purse.”

“I do not carry knives in my purse,” I said confidently.

With that, he took my big satchel of a purse and dumped all the contents out into a huge plastic tub. And there, to my horror, came tumbling out a white dinner napkin tightly rolled around a spoon, fork ... and butter knife. Then the TSA agent picked up the knife and asked, “What is this?”

Yes, I am guilty as charged. I tried to (weakly) explain that I was at a wedding dinner last night and my 2-year-old grandbaby was running around (wild) and taking the napkins and must have dropped one into my purse. Glaring at me, he said, “Well you lied about a weapon and you also steal silverware.” Ouch.

I made my flight and saw the pilot who had tried to help. When I told him what happened, he shook his head and laughed, “Screwdrivers are fine to carry on … but not a dull knife.” Flying? Be safe, Dear Readers, and be sure to know what is in your bag.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local Realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at


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