Sibling position #4 – two years younger than me.
Two things you need to know about Larry.
1.) He always has a smile on his face.
2.) He never breaks a rule.
This story begins the Christmas after 9/11. I got a call from Larry shortly after I’d dropped him off at the airport.
“I’ve been arrested.” I could hear the laughter in his voice.
I chuckled. “Sure you have.”
“No, really!” By now he’s laughing so hard it was difficult to understand him. “I’m in a jail cell right now and in fact they’re ready to take my pho—”
As I made a U-Turn in the middle of the six lane highway, I called my favorite attorney who just happens to be my husband, John. He called back to tell me, sure enough, Larry had been arrested — for trying to carry a large knife on the plane. “Please tell me that didn’t happen.” Although he didn’t say it out loud I could hear “You’re family is Crazie.”
“OF COURSE IT DIDN’T HAPPEN!” I explained calmly.
John agreed to drive out to the airport to get it all straightened out.
I waited impatiently in the well-appointed lobby of the airport police station (not my first time in the lobby of a police station, but that’s another story). I knew for certain that my pacifist brother, who didn’t even like to use a letter opener, would not have been carrying a knife onto a plane.
When John arrived, the officer on duty took us to his desk and then brought Larry in from his jail cell. Larry’s smile was slightly lopsided, but still there. The officer asked him to tell us what happened.
“You know Shelly got me that wok I asked for, right?” he said.
“Um. Yes.” I replied
“Well, I decided not to check the box, I thought I’d just carry it on with me. You know, so it wouldn’t get squashed.”
“I put it on the conveyor belt and I waited on the other side for it to come out. Only it didn’t. I looked up at the agent who’d x-rayed it and he’d called over another agent. Then they called over this police officer. Sorry, what was your name again?”
“That’s right. So, Officer Schmidt and the other two agents are all pointing at the x-ray screen and then over at me.” He giggled.
“All of the sudden, I remembered that a set of knives was included with the wok. So I said ‘Oh, there are knives in there aren’t there?’ And then, everyone that was standing around me took a step back.” Larry paused to get his laughter under control. “Officer Schmidt asked me to move to the holding area where they pat you down and I told him it was just a mistake and that if he’d give me the box I’d check it with my suitcase. No big deal.” He wiped tears of laughter from his eyes.
Husband turned to me with that “Are you kidding me?” look on his face.
“Go on,” I said. “Then what happened.”
“Then, Officer Schmidt explained that it was against the law to carry a knife on the plane and asked me to turn around so he could cuff me.”
“He took it surprisingly well,” Officer Schmidt told us.
Larry said, “I was laughing so hard it was hard for you to put the cuffs on me, right?”
“But,” my husband asked. “Why were you laughing?”
“All I could think,” Larry said. “Was, what a great family story this was going to be.”
After several hours of discussion, the police finally agreed to let Larry go, promising him a stiff fine. We drove him back over to the terminal to see if there was any chance he could get on a later flight.
Evidently we looked bedraggled enough that the woman behind the ticket counter felt sorry for us.
“Let’s see what I can do.” Her fingers flew over the keyboard and we stood listening to the clickity-clack, waiting for the magic to happen. “Now, tell me the reason you missed your plane and,” here she leaned across the counter and winked at us. “Make it good.”
I opened my mouth to say he was an important musical conductor and had to get back to Broadway to his next performance but before I could utter a word my ‘never break a rule’ brother Larry said, “I tried to carry a knife onto the plane.”
It was another week before we could find a flight that would take him.