Sunday, April 27, 2008

In memoriam: Old Yellow & Big Blue


Back in December, we cleaned out our outdoor storage closet and said goodbye to two longtime members of the family: Old Yellow and Big Blue.

I mentioned Old Yellow briefly last year in the context of its handle falling off upon arrival from Damascus at the Portland airport. Otherwise, this suitcase was gigantic and indestructible. It was a hand-me-down from my mom, who received it as a high school graduation gift from her parents. It only had the one handle on top - no side handles, and no wheels to facilitate forward movement. So it was capable of hauling very large, heavy loads - as long as you were capable of one-handedly lurching forward with it well enough to get from the airport parking lot to the check-in desk. Once the handle fell off, well...it was time to say goodbye.

The other factor that partially contributed to its dismissal from our family luggage collection, or at least made saying goodbye a lot easier, was that this suitcase was hideous. The looks we had to endure at baggage claim were sometimes enough to make us want to wait around until everyone else had left to claim Old Yellow. Unfortunately, everyone else always seemed to want to wait around until they saw who would step forward to claim the freaky yellow suitcase.

One time, I remember going home to Oregon for Christmas from the BYU with my older brother, Blair. We were waiting at baggage claim at the Portland airport. All the other dark blue, black, maroon, normal-sized, matching-set suitcases were emerging from the baggage handling area lying down sedately on the conveyor belt. Then, in a moment of glory, Old Yellow came bursting through those thick plastic hanging strips fully upright, like it was proud to show itself off to its owners. I think we heard a few audible gasps from the crowd.

Old Yellow's partner in crime was Big Blue, whose main claim to fame was that it was even bigger than Old Yellow. And while Big Blue had caster wheels as well as a handle, the wheels were too tiny to do any actual good in transporting the suitcase. But what really sent Big Blue to the rubbish heap were the tears beginning to form in its fabric sides.

And so it is that one cool morning in December, I hauled these two elderly suitcases to our local Deseret Industries. I took one last picture of them waiting to be hauled up the loading dock, and then they were gone.

Since the suitcases were technically hand-me-downs from my parents, I made sure to ask their permission before I gave them away. My mom said it was OK with her as long as I took a picture of them and then wrote something about them by way of a proper send-off.

Done and done.

3 comments:

Suzanne Bubnash said...

Old Yella, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Your extreme yellowness was like no other . . . bright and cheery as a daffodil, always bringing smiles to bystanders at baggage claim.

Your sturdiness knew no bounds. Neither grumpy baggage handler nor baggage cart accident nor rambunctious child could breach your inner sanctum.

Your long-suffering-ness held you closed as I stuffed you full to the brim, then stuffed in more. You always expanded to meet my needs, never bursting or even balking at my callousness.

Your devotion was as a faithful puppy. You stood by me through many journeys to/from Provo, then patiently endured as I dragged you through Europe and criss-crossed the US over and over. You then hauled the next generation around the globe—Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and more.

Ne’er will I forget the great and terrible day you and I struggled a mile through Salt Lake streets to reach the bus-stop for the airport—I, nearly six months pregnant—you, sucking in your breath to become lighter. Wheel-less and clunky, it was all you could do to help and it was enough.

Old Yella, you were meek, humble, and chose a simpler course. You never hid your face in shame as sleeker, more stylish suitcases snickered and pointed at you. They may inhabit that great and spacious luggage building, but you . . . you held on through murky waters to reach baggage heaven—and gained the everlasting love of your owner.

Oh that your handle could have been as faithful as your bulky body. Regret! The third generation will never know ye . . . .

But perhaps . . . there is hope . . . perchance a DI shopper will look past your battered, scarred body and recognize you for what you really are and give you new life. And a new handle. And make you whole again.

Craig said...

Bravo!!

Kristen said...

I laughed so hard reading this post. And Suzanne: the icing on the cake. Bravo, indeed.

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