A Wedding Dress

Before we were married, Colleen was living in Czech Republic and I was living in Israel. Since we planned to live in Israel after our wedding, we decided that Colleen would bring her stuff to Israel and then, we would fly to Texas for our wedding. Our flight out of Israel was exactly 12 hours after Colleen arrived from Czech Republic, which isn’t quite enough time to see the sights.

When we arrived in Texas, very few details for our wedding remained to be arranged since most were either taken care of abroad, or, alternatively, by friends in Texas. Among the details that were managed from abroad was Colleen’s wedding dress, which she had custom made in Czech Republic. It was beautiful, inexpensive and hand carried. We didn’t take the chance of having it damaged or lost in checked baggage; and it came in handy as we went through airport security at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.

Usually, Israel is a destination point, not a transit country. That being the case, I suspected that her flying from Czech Republic to the United States via Switzerland and Israel might raise some serious concerns for the security team at Ben Gurion. Particularly, if she was in Israel only 12 hours. That’s just not a normal route.

When our turn came to go through security at Ben Gurion, we approached the counter expecting to be given the “full treatment.” It seemed reasonable given our particulars: we’re not Jewish, we’re not Israeli, and Colleen had only been in the country 12 hours. The agent who handled us was thorough, but courteous, which was appreciated. As he quickly moved from question to question, he finally arrived at the standard, “where are you going and why” questions.

“Well, we’re going to Texas to get married,” I answered. He smiled as if he had finally found a chink in our armor and asked,”Can you prove that you’re going to Texas to get married.” As quickly as I noticed the look in his eye, the answer came to me: “I can’t prove that we’re going to get married, but we do have a pretty good clue. She has her wedding dress!” I responded. “Can I see it,” he countered as we seemed to be sparring now. So, with great fanfare, I “jabbed” him: “Sure! But in our tradition, I can’t see her dress before the wedding, so give me a chance to turn around!” Colleen pushed the garment bag toward our interrogator as I spun away. The timing was so perfect it had to be choreographed. But it wasn’t.

Apparently weakened by my ability to verbally spar, or more likely realizing that we were telling the truth, he delicately opened the bag just enough to peak inside. Upon recognizing that it was, in fact, a wedding dress, he blushed and quickly zipped the bag closed and said, “Okay, you can go.” And, as quickly as he zipped the bag closed he covered our bags with security stickers and moved us on to the ticket counter.

That was it: One of our easiest journeys through airport security. The interview lasted only a few minutes and the issue of Colleen’s 12 hour transit in Israel never came up. I felt victorious. Colleen was just happy that I didn’t get us dragged into the back room for the extra special attention offered to shady characters.

Next stop: Newark.

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