Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Knife is Finally Gone

In the recent burglary of my home, the thieves stole 2 of my suitcases that I use in my traveling. I had just come home from two trips, so both my suitcases were out in the floor. They used my suitcases to haul away my belongings. How convenient!

In one of my suitcases was the Swiss Army knife that I've had since 1982. The knife and I go way back... and it was a bit of an irony that it too was stolen in this event.

On two other occaisions I've nearly lost this knife. One I was flying from India to Nepal. It was just after a hijacking had occurred and security was heightened at the airport. This was many years ago, prior to September 11, 2001, so my Swiss Army knife was always in my carry on. I always kept it in my backpack. It had a little pair of scissors in it, as well as a bottle opener and a corkscrew. Those three items were my main reasons for carrying it with me!

Because of the heightened security, the Indian authorities would not let me take the knife on the plane with me. They told me they'd give it to the pilot, and I could ask a flight attendant for it when I deplaned at the end of the flight. I was slightly annoyed, but there was nothing I could do.

I was 1/2 way through the airport after the flight when I realized I had forgotten to claim my knife from the flight crew. I felt my heart sink a little. I'd had the knife for many years, even back then. I was traveling with a group and didn't have the time to try to go back and track down the flight crew, so I decided to let the knife go. At the moment I decided to let go, I heard someone calling my name. One of the flight attendants had chased me through the airport to return my knife. I thought it was a miracle!

Once September 11 happened, and knives were banned from carry on bags, I had to change my routine. I would pack the knife in my checked bag, and then upon arrival to my destination, move it in to my backpack for daily use. On more than one occaision, I've accidently flown with it in my backpack. So much for the great new post 9-11 security!

On one trip to Israel/Palestine, I forgot to take the knife out of my carry on and pack it in my checked suitcase. When I got to the final security checkpoint, they discovered it in my backpack and confiscated it. I asked if I could call someone in Jerusalem and have them come to pick it up. The security folks said, "no way." I explained that it was a sentimental item and that I would hate to lose it. They finally agreed that they would mail it to my friend in Jerusalem. I addressed a label, and left it with my knife. I was fairly certain I'd never see it again. Lo and behold, it showed up within a couple weeks at my friends home in Jersualem! I was reunited with my knife on my next visit. ANother miracle!

This time, the knife, I believe, is gone for good. It's as though it was trying to 'leave me' for quite some time. I think this time it's really gone. Who knows, maybe another miracle will occur and it will show up again. I feel lucky to have kept it for so long, and to have had it return to me after two near separations. If, as it appears, this is the final separation, I accept it graciously, and am greatful for the service it provided to me over the past 26 years. Sometimes the end of a journey is inevitable. Acceptance is all you can do.

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