Yesterday, I was snipping rosemary from a very large rosemary bush growing in a pot on my deck. Rosemary is one of those plants whose leaves exude an oily essence. That’s the only way to describe it. This rosemary essence is incredibly potent and, for me — like lusty Patchouli oil aroma from sweaty 60s-era girlfriends past — fires memory synapses only the way aromas can.
Which is how I found myself remembering being picked up by my friend, Rich one evening at the Norfolk airport. I had been returning from a trip to visit Mom in Florida, and I was ready to come home. About an hour later, it was Rich who noticed that we were the last folks standing in a now empty baggage area. “Uh, Tim?” he asked. “Why are we the last people standing in an empty baggage area?”
I thought about my golf clubs. I thought about my hang bag, filled with my favorite tee-shirts and shorts and suntan lotion. I thought about *Tad Williams’ yet unread “Mountain of Black Glass“ (Otherland, Volume 3) novel. I thought about my brand new prescription sunglasses sitting, perhaps, on my seat as I had hastily deplaned, and I thought about Stephen King’s “The Langoliers“, a novel about parallel universe-hopping airline travelers who find themselves stranded in an airport from Hell whose reality is in the process of fragmenting into nothingness, just like my hopes for ever seeing my luggage again.
“I don’t want to think about it,” I said.
After a while, I noticed a tiny glass room set off from the rest of the baggage claim area. Inside, leaning against a scuzzy wall and bathed in the sickly green glow from an overhead fluorescent light, sat my golf clubs and Samsonite hanging bag.
“Those your bags?” asked a security-looking-type guard, gruffly. A handgun hung loosely from his belt.
Uh, oh, I thought, suddenly remembering my sister, Pat having stuffed a HUGE bundle of fresh rosemary into the golf bag just before she drove me to the airport in Florida. Maybe they found some hitchhiking bugs being transported across state lines. Maybe — I was about to get busted!
“Yes, they’re mine!” I exclaimed. “Is there something wrong?”
“Nah, they came in on another flight,” said the guard. “You got your baggage claim tickets?”
I breathed a sigh of relief.
A few minutes later Rich and I were standing in the parking lot. A cool evening breeze blew in from the nearby Chesapeake Bay. “Hang on a second, Rich,” I said, unzipping the golf bag. I slipped on a Zebco Pro-fishing jacket. The inside of Rich’s truck smelled like rosemary all the way to a sushi bar.
+ + + + +
Tim Says: *Author Tad Williams and I have a somewhat twisted relationship, culminating in years of a rather rage-hardened distrust. Sounds like a Simply Tim to me!