Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

He’s carrying a gun, at the airport March 31, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:01 AM

The replica sword my son purchased on an educational trip to Spain.

AS THE BOY clad in a cowboy hat walks past, I watch, stunned. He is carrying a shotgun. And he is at the airport.

From just feet away, I can see that his gun is clearly a toy. Still, I am surprised that the boy, who appears to be about six, can tote his fake weapon openly among a throng of disembarked passengers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Sunday afternoon.

A quick glance from afar and someone, anyone, could mistake his replica gun for the real thing.

No one seems alarmed, though, except me.

My concern is only momentary, however, as I soon focus on my 16-year-old son, who has just arrived from Spain via London and Chicago.

We are at the American Airlines baggage claim waiting for his suitcase. That is what I think, until he says we are also waiting for his sword.

A sword? What is it with boys and their weapons?

He has purchased a souvenir sword that arrives tightly secured in cardboard packaging. I am relieved. I want nothing to do with a sword-swinging teen swaggering through an airport terminal.

My security confidence has already been shaken by that gun-toting would-be cowboy.

Later, when we arrive home, I find the sword useless as a cutting tool, although certainly capable of impaling someone, anyone.

I keep my lips pressed tightly together, holding back the question I want to ask: “Why on earth did you buy a sword?”

Even though I asked my son not to bring home a gift for me, he did. He gave me a 24-carat gold necklace and matching earrings hand crafted in Toledo, Spain. This may have been his redemption for buying that sword.

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


4 Responses to “He’s carrying a gun, at the airport”

  1. Miranda Says:

    hmmm…I’m thinking that this could make for an awesome “Pirates of the Caribbean” reenactment.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Oh, I never thought of that, not having seen Pirates of the Caribbean. However, I did think of the sword fights my siblings and I had as kids, using icicles we pulled from the edge of the milkhouse roof. Now THAT was fun! I wonder if my mom ever worried about us poking each other’s eyes out. Probably not, and we never did. Ah, the memories…

  2. Mike Cassidy Says:

    If you ever get to Toledo (which I recommend!), you’ll find that the town is awash in swords. They seem to be resting on their laurels, basking in past glories when Toledo was the capital of Spain. Your son could hardly have resisted.

    However, the town has many more glories. If you go, stay at La Almazara a bit outside of town and enjoy an El-Greco-like view of the place.

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