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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The United Kingdom (01/22/09)

TITLE: Check Your Passport
By Virgil Youngblood
01/28/09


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The line of tired passengers shuffled forward in a rope bordered maze, stopping and starting, each hoping to clear Heathrow customs without undue delay or hassle. I was one of them. After a long flight the sun was coming up when my body said it should be going down. It was my first trip to the United Kingdom, the soil of a family-tree ancestor according to a cousin’s research.

The few times I traveled away from the USA clearing customs had stained me with a feeling of unease. Today is no different. Halted in the gate of the rope corridor, next to be called, I tried to guess the mood of those doing the screening. Nodding my head, acknowledging the officer’s wave to come forward, I inhaled a deep breath and grabbed my luggage. He peered down from an elevated pulpit, eyes dark and unreadable, accepting my passport and scanning it and me without comment. Who said, “Silence is golden?”

“Are you here for the British Open?” he asked. Many golf enthusiasts were traveling to Scotland to watch bouncing white balls and those that that followed them over the world famous turf.

‘No, Sir”, I replied. “But my son-in-law is. I would rather watch grass grow.”

“Then, why have you come?” he asked, a twinkle suddenly dancing in his eye. I felt better already.

“I have a granddaughter that has fallen in love with your country and she is graduating from The University of Reading this week. We are here for that and some vacation time in Great Britain afterwards.”

“Welcome” He said, handing me my passport. “Enjoy your stay.”

During the commencement service terrorist bombed the Tube, the major underground rail system in London, and a red double-deck sight-seeing bus, killing many. I had been on a tour bus and at the rail locations the previous day. What a difference a day can make.

You aren’t ready to live until you are ready to die. That truth was evident during the turmoil of the following days.

When my wife and I returned home friends and others asked about our trip. They were astonished to hear we had continued sightseeing in Britain and Scotland, major parts of the United Kingdom.

Well, why not? The heightened security was evident and comforting. But, more importantly, the security of having a personal Savior means we don’t have to fear terrorist.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 01/31/09
Wow, what a vacation!

I'd really like to see this expanded--the terrorist attack got only one sentence. You had lots more words, and could have helped your reader to experience that with you.

Wonderful message at the end!
Karlene Jacobsen 02/02/09
I've only been through customs twice, in and out of Nicaragua. Oi, what a trip.