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The Hillbilly Guide to Air Travel (repost)

It seems the fine folks at Thomas Nelson liked Billy Coffey so much, they have invited him down to Nashville for another visit. To celebrate this meet and greet and to remind him (and possibly you) of all the things you can no longer bring on an airplane, I have decided to repost this handy guide originally published back in March. Sorry/you’re welcome…

In case you haven’t already heard the news, our friend and critically acclaimed author Billy Coffey recently signed a multi-book deal with Thomas Nelson Publishing. His next book, When Mockingbirds Sing will be released Spring 2013.

The fine folks at Thomas Nelson have arranged for a meet and greet with Billy in their offices in Nashville. Which is wonderful and exciting, but also creates a bit of a conundrum, because in order to get from Virginia to Tennessee, Billy will need to get on an airplane.

Now, this wouldn’t be such a big deal for many of us, but Mr. Coffey is a man who likes to stay close to his mountains, and his one and only round trip flight on an airplane occurred during the Clinton administration. The world is a different place these days, and knowing the do’s and don’ts of air travel is quite a lot of information for a country boy from the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Never fear, katdish is here to save the day. I assured Billy that I would tell him everything he needed to know before he heads for the airport, provided, of course, he would allow me to use it as blog fodder and have a few laughs at his expense in the process.

I know. I’m a giver…

So for Billy and anyone else facing the daunting task of modern day air travel for the first time, may I present the Hillbilly Guide to Air Travel.

I don’t travel often, but I have been through my fair share of airport security checkpoints. Often enough that I don’t give much thought to the post 911 security restrictions. They’ve become as second nature to me as knowing which side of the gas pump to pull my car up to. But things don’t become second nature if you never do them, and a person who never travels by airplane doesn’t give much thought to what you can and can’t bring with you.

It’s rare to find any self-respecting manly man, particularly a southern manly man, without his trusty pocket knife, but if you find him trying to get through an airport security checkpoint with his trusty pocket knife, you won’t find him there for long.

We carry handguns here in Texas, but they won’t let you on a plane with one of those either. Here’s the FAA list of prohibited “Sharp Objects” for carry-on luggage:

I feel safer knowing the guy sitting next to me on a flight won’t have immediate access to an ice pick, meat cleaver, saber or thrusting weapon, don’t you? It’s also nice to know that if you really need to take your meat cleaver with you everywhere you go, you can put it in your checked luggage.

And while some tools are allowed in your carry-on luggage, I’m sorry to say that you’ll have to leave Bessie at home, Tonto.

It’s a shame you can’t bring a cattle prod with you on a flight, though. I imagine it would speed up some of those slow pokes in the aisle during deplaning.

There are also restrictions for sports equipment in your carry-on luggage, so unfortunately you’ll have to leave your baseball bat in the gun rack of your hoopty.

I’m hoping the results of your meetings will be cause for great celebration, but any celebratory fireworks or hand grenades will need to be purchased and consumed while in Nashville after successfully unboarding your flight.

But enough about all the things you can’t bring with you. Let’s discuss what you can bring.

I know you’ll want to be looking and smelling your best for your big day of meetings, and you can bring just about any of your usual toiletries you use at home, you’ll just have to make sure they are in containers which hold 3.4 ounces or less and they’ll need to fit into a quart sized, zipped topped plastic baggie.

Here’s a brief summary/explanation from our friends at the TSA:

There is a detailed list of personal hygiene items you are permitted to pack in your carry on luggage, but for your convenience (katdish = giver), I have highlighted the ones which pertain to this particular situation:

"Scalp oil? You know that's right!"


TSA and FAA approved mouthwash - YES

TSA and FAA approved mouthwash - NO

In addition to any clothes, boots, cowboy hats and above aforementioned items which will fit into a 22″ x 14″ x 9″ carry on bag weighing less than 40 pounds, you may also bring your computer, ipad, notebooks and fancy pens in your man sack, er…briefcase. The captain or one of the flight attendants (who do not like to be called stewardesses) will notify you when you may turn them on.

In conclusion, just a few more suggestions:

  • Plan on arriving 1 to 2 hours prior to your flight in case of delays
  • Make sure you wear nice socks without holes in them because you’re going to have to remove your boots before you pass thru security
  • Be prepared to remove your watch and/or any jewelry which contains a lot of metal or you’ll set off the scanner
  • Don’t be nervous. Air travel is statistically much safer than driving.

I haven’t discussed the possibility of a full body cavity search by the TSA screeners, but I’ll tell you all about that in a separate email. Snort!

Air travel these days can be an enormous pain in the back side, but I hope these tips and suggestions will make your flight plans a little less stressful. Happy flying and think of me while you read the Sky Mall catalog! Good luck.

Memories from the road

When I saw that the topic for the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival was “Road”, it reminded me of the last family road trip I took in November. And since many of us are planning some sort of road trip this summer, I thought it might be fun to revisit a post I wrote back in November. Sorry/you’re welcome.

Overheard on the way to Alabama

Happy day after Thanksgiving everyone! I’m enjoying a very relaxing extended weekend at one of my favorite places in the world: the beach. It matters not which beach, as long as I can sink my feet in where earth meets water, I’m happy. On this particular occassion, I find myself in Gulf Shores, Alabama. It is beautiful and relaxing and wonderful. It’s also a 9 hour drive from my house.

Despite the DVD player, gameboys, iPods and books, nine hours is a long time for four people and a dog to spend in a car together without some interesting bits of conversations arising. The following are just a few snippets from said conversation on Wednesday:

“I have to go to the bathroom.” (Baytown, TX)

“I have to go to the bathroom.” (Beaumont, TX)

“I have to go to the bathroom.” (Orange, TX)

“You just went to the bathroom.”

“I couldn’t go last time.”

“I hope he’s not getting a bladder infection.”

“OH MY GOSH! I’m fine. How embarrassing…”

“Are we in Louisiana yet?”

“We’ll be in Louisiana in about 10 miles.”

“Are we in Louisiana yet?”

“In about 8 miles.”

“We’re in Louisiana.”

“How long until we get to Mississippi?”


“I have to go to the bathroom.”

“You’ll have to wait awhile. There’s no place to stop.”

“Were you able to pee the last time we stopped?”

“OH MY GOSH! Yes, Mom! How embarrassing.”

“Okay. Just checking. I wish you and your sister would coordinate your bathroom breaks a little better.”

“We’re in Mississippi.”

“Why is it called Mississippi?”

“I’m not sure. You should Google that on the computer.”

“What’s the state bird of Mississippi?”

“Don’t know.”

“What’s the state tree of Mississippi?”

“Don’t know.”

“What’s the…”

“Don’t know anything about Mississippi. Google it.”

“How long until we get to Alabama?”

“When we get there. And we’re playing the quiet game until we do.”

“What are we doing for dinner?”

“We’re going to Bea’s condo. She’s making dinner, but we’re going to drop off our stuff at the cottage we’re staying at first.”

“How long until we get to Bea’s condom?”





So, what did y’all do for Thanksgiving?

This repost is part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival: Road, hosted by the lovely and talented Peter Pollock. For more posts on this topic, please visit his website,

Keeping Austin weird, one visit at a time.

There are many reasons I love Austin. First and foremost being, it is in Texas. I was born in Virginia, but as the saying goes, “I got to Texas as fast as I could.” This attitude may seem obnoxious to many – especially people from Oklahoma – but speaking for me personally, it is not meant to be. It’s one thing to visit here. You can come and go, then move on with your life. But there’s something about living in Texas that grabs onto your heart and never lets go. Can I get a witness? But back to Austin. How could I not love a place whose slogan is “Keep Austin Weird”? Here’s a brief explanation from the crack research team at Wikipedia:

Keep Austin Weird is the slogan adopted by the Austin Independent Business Alliance to promote small businesses in Austin, Texas. The phrase arose from an offhand remark by Red Wassenich (a librarian at Austin Community College) in a phone call to a local radio station. He and his wife, Karen Pavelka, placed the slogan on bumper stickers, distributing them free to businesses in Austin.

One interpretation of the slogan is as a reference to the many small businesses in Austin, which give the city its unique cultural identity.

The “Keep Austin Weird” slogan reaches far beyond a marketing campaign, however. Austin reflects a culture of artistic and individual expression that maintains the city as a vibrant and eclectic creative center. In a mostly conservative Texas, Austin is “Weird” because it continues to be progressive in the arts and music. “Keep Austin Weird”, moves beyond a mere slogan, to reflect the dynamics that encompass Austin.

For example, in January 2009 alone over 1700 live music venues were supported. Few cities in the world could boast such a broad spectrum of tastes. In addition, multiple festivals such SXSW, Austin City Limits, Armadillo Bazaar and the Batfest, among many others are highly attended with far reaching audiences.

Austin is just cool. Having said that, I’m glad to be home: Land of superior Internet connections. It seems everywhere I went in Austin, I saw reminders of home. For instance, I saw a sign that reflected my sister’s Native American name:

I even saw signs that reminded me of my Internet peeps. The kids and I ate lunch right next to this place:

which obviously reminded me of Tony C at Tony C Today. Incidentally, if you’ve never checked out his blog, he’s got what I consider to be the most awesome header bar in the blogosphere. That alone is worth the visit, but I digress…Right across the street, I saw a store the reminded me of my friend Sherri at Matter of Fact:

(Y’all, she don’t spell so good…)

And since my friend Helen over at Random Musings just got a new bed, this sign made me think of her:

Here’s a store that reminded me of Steph at the Red Clay Diaries, Beth at That’s Not Me Anymore, Annie at Buzz by Annie’s, Nick the Geek at My Experiences as a Youth Pastor, and Jake at Very Much Later:

(Okay, Jake – I realize that Boise isn’t exactly backwoods, but I didn’t see a baked potato place.)

Right next to “Backwoods” was a store that reminded me of Mare at It Might Be Hope and Koffijah at Koffihouse:

Hey, fellow smartypants contributors, check this out:

(How cool is THAT?)

Yes, reminders were all around me. Even on the drive home, the signs were everywhere. Here’s one that made me think of my new bloggy buddy Mandy Thompson:

As I entered the final stretch, literally minutes from home, I saw a sign that reminded me of Kathy at This Crazy Adventure I call Life:

Did I spend entirely too much time snapping pictures and generally annoying my children on this trip?

But that’s just one more thing that makes me so very annoying/endearing!