I called my mother today to thank her for having me. “You’re my favorite mother,” I told her. “Ok, you’re my only mother – but you’re still my favorite.” She dutifully laughed, as mothers are supposed to do. She’s 84 and still beautiful, an Irish Catholic girl born in Chicago and adopted by her aunt and uncle – Mama and Papa. She grew up to be lovelier than any big-screen beauty, and even now can belt out “Summertime” like a pro. She taught us how to make up stories to tell over a late-night flickering candle, encouraged us when we squeaked through saxophone lessons, how to make a food budget stretch. She tried to show me how to be feminine, and knew when to give up on that dream of hers. “You’re just like your father,” she would say, her hands on her hips. I think that meant that I was okay the way I was, and that she loved me. Even though I am quite a bit like Dad, I hope that I hug as well as her. And if I love my own children half as much as she loves hers, well, I have some pretty lucky kids.
Today, while packing my little roll-aboard bag with two weeks of clothes and supplies for my trip, I decided to pick up a few more tips on packing for my New Thing. So, even though I consider myself a pretty good packer, I found some great ideas:
* Put your outfits together ahead of time – create layers that can be mixed easily.
* Pack early – allow things to settle in your suitcase to make more room for those things you forgot to put in. And – you’re still home to add them!
* One savvy traveler showed me a great way to breeze through a bag check – he packs his articles in smaller nylon bags that can be easily pulled out for a second screening. By putting all his wired items in one bag, it can be screened separately and repacked without an embarrassing display of other articles in the bag.
*And here’s another great tip -pack a flat rubber mat that is used to cover kitchen sink drains. You can use this to plug hotel sinks so you can hand wash your clothing!