With a week between returning from Cape Cod and my departure for Iowa, I scurried around the house getting laundry and dishes done and squeezing in time for my very part time job and two trips to the pool for water exercise, oh yes, then pack the suitcase. Since Claudia from the Word Lovers Retreat was planning to drive out to Iowa City for a weekend class, I had only a one way flight to Iowa with the plan to ride back home with Claudia.
On the 8th of July the cab that I had called on the day before to come at noon was not here by 12:10 so I went back into the house and called them to be told, “You’re not even on the books!” But before I could faint, he said they would be right out and get me to my 2:20 p.m. flight on time. The driver did arrive shortly and after assuring me it was not his fault, did get me to the airport though I was sure my blood pressure was up and I was wet with perspiration.
I could not print out my boarding pass from my computer though I had tried a couple of times. At the check in counter I found that the TSA KTN (known traveler number) did not show up on my boarding pass, though the airline clerk was able to confirm that the number I gave her was my KTN number, thus I was subjected to a humiliating pat down at the TSA entry. With the KTN number I should not have to remove my shoes, so for the first time since 9-11 I wore laced shoes and of course I had to take them off, though the airline person said anyone over 70 did not have to do so. The TSA person said it was 75 years of age. She asked me if I wanted a private room for the pat down and I said absolutely not, I wanted anyone going by to see that her hands were all over me, from my chin to my ankles, across my chest, rear, and up and down the insides of my legs from ankle to groin. First they put me through an X-RAY like unit that looks through my clothes, then the pat down.
Personally I have never heard of anyone over 70 years of age ever getting radicalized, nor of trying to cause a terrorist action. At no other airport in the world have I encountered such treatment, not New York, Newark, Rome, Austin, Colorado, or Iowa. Cleveland Hopkins is certainly the worst experience I have ever had in my trips since 9-11.
Once I arrived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa I had calmed down and tried to focus on the lush greenery along the route to the Iowa House Hotel. I phoned Dorothy, one of the two ladies I stay in touch with from the Mediterranean Cruise in 2015. Dorothy lives right in Iowa City and we agreed that she would pick me up in the morning and to go to Mass together and then have lunch.
I walked across the campus to a noodle shop that I like, for dinner and took my time coming back and partially unpacking.
At the appointed time I saw Dorothy’s white car pulling onto the street where I had been standing in front of the Iowa House and I raised my thumb as if hitch hiking as she pulled up and let me into the car. We went to her parish, St. Pat’s, and from there to a bright and charming restaurant for lunch. We planned to go back to sit on her veranda like we did last year, but she wanted to make a quick stop at her realtor’s house to sign a paper and I sat in the car while she did that.
Instead of Dorothy coming back, the realtor came out to the car and invited me to come into the house and have some water, Dorothy had fallen, missed her footing on the one step porch on her way back out of the house. In a matter of minutes the EMS folks arrived and took Dorothy off to a hospital which has a good orthopedic department and the realtor drove me to the Vetro Hotel on the Pedestrian Mall where the evening’s registration and dinner would be held.
Things just had to go upward from here. Registration and dinner were fun, as always and that encouraged me because I was beginning to wonder if I should not have come. Later when I got back to the Iowa House I called Cindy, the realtor and got the lowdown on Dorothy’s condition – the fall had broken her hip and she would end up with a partial hip replacement.