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A black SUV with Florida plates …..

The weekend started early last week with our trip to CB’s Steamroller Printing event in Memphis.  We arrived in Memphis around 9:30 and walked from the SWA gate to the National Car Rental Terminal which honestly seems like a two miles.  You may remember that on our last trip National Car Rental had absolutely no cars on the lot at the airport, they actually had cars at the airport this time, so TWWNCBUIP, Linc, Lola and I checked into a black SUV of some sort. Color is relevant here.

The set up for the Steamroller Printing was finished by the time we arrived so we had a quick drink and and went to our boutique hotel on Mud Island, which you may remember from the Tom Cruise movie – The Firm (River Inn of Harbor Town for anyone interested in a room with a view of the Mississippi River in Memphis) to rest from our exhaustion brought on by sitting in an airplane for an hour and testing Rusty Nails at the Cove.

I had intended to get an early start Friday but not at 7 am when the alarm sounded through the hotel.  I made it down the hall to the elevator in my fuzzy hotel robe for what I presumed was a fire alarm. I was stopped by housekeeping at the elevator doors and they explained that the elevator was being repaired and the techs kept setting off the alarm. I might add the that for the rest of our stay TWWNCBUIP would not use the “unreliable” elevator.

It was a great getaway. We were joined by friend from Houston and explored the city’s restaurants, “supervised” the printing process on Broad Avenue, hung out with Frank the Dog at Mr. Mrs. CB’s house/studio/workshop/warehouse, stood in line for 45 minutes to have dinner at Gus’ Fried Chicken, walked Linc and Lola along the Mississippi.

As trips go it was up among my favorites right up until Monday at noon.

Since we were out late Sunday night celebrating the success of their event we had gotten a late check for Monday. We started packing up around 11 and by around noon I starting taking stuff to the car. We were gonna have one last meal with the kids before heading to the airport.

I took 2 of the bags down to the car, unlocked the car with the remote and put the 2 suitcases in the back locked it up and went back the room to collect the rest of our bags, souvenirs, and puppies (I wasn’t forgetting TWWNCBUIP, she just wasn’t ready yet.

Back downstairs I opened the trunk of the SUV to finish packing our stuff and the dogs into the car.

As the door opened, I realized that there were no bags in the car. I also noticed that the dogs sleeping mats were however in the car. Just remember that I am operating at TCON and it took me a minute to get my head around the situation. Slowly I gathered that I had probably put my bags in the wrong car, so I looked around for another black SUV with Florida plates that I could have mistaken for my own.

I soon realized that there were no other SUV’s parked in front of the hotel. After checking with hotel and letting them know my predicament, I found out that no one had checked out of the hotel after 11am except me.

I let them know that I was driving a rented black SUV, and the manager said he would check their security cameras and get back with me while we went for lunch. I checked the restaurants next door to see if they had had anyone leave in the last few minutes. Struck out again.

I have neglected to say that in addition to my stylish vacation wear, our suitcases also contained our 2 laptops, my 35mm DSLR, a electronic camera stabilizer (no it’s not a selfie stick) AND my ONLY calendar for all our upcoming band bookings.

In route to meet Mr. & Mrs. CB for lunch we thought that the since the black SUV that I had put the bags in also had Florida plates that it was also probably a rental and would soon be turned in at the airport. So while I called lost and found for all the rentals agencies, TWWNCBUIP thought that since our computers are Macs that we could use the find my Mac app and get a location for our bags.

No luck on either idea (in case you ever need to track a Mac you should know that it can’t be found until someone opens the computer).

After lunch we checked back at the hotel. Frederick invited me back to the footage recorded earlier in the day. As I sat down in front of the screen, Frederick turns and says to me, “Rusty, here is the video of you walking across the parking lot and putting your bags in the back of a WHITE SUV. Them video then shows a couple leave the restaurant next door, get into their WHITE SUV and drive away. Well, thought I, I’ll just bet that the plates weren’t from Florida either.

The look on the faces of TWWNCBUIP and Mr. & Mrs. CB when I told them this updated info was …. what do you call it? Priceless.

As we rode our company jet (SWA) back home I was contemplating the cost and time of replacing our computers. I couldn’t even begin to think how to get the my band schedules back in order.

Wasn’t the best finish to great weekend.

Then, just as the plane was touching down in Houston my phone rang.

“Hello, is this Rusty?”


“This is Sheila and I believe I have your luggage. My husband found it in the back of our car when he arrived home tonight.”

The passengers around me, I am sure thought I had just won the lottery. We made arrangements for CB to retrieve it, I thanked her profusely and was about to disconnect the call when Sheila said,

“Rusty, before we go, can you tell me how your luggage got to be in my car?

I didn’t really know where to begin ……

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