Checking in at the gate, I was handed a pink ticket for my fly rod. It's a two-piece and 58 inches in the case. That's 4 inches less than the "oversized" qualifying length as described on my airline's website. The pink ticket simply means they'll toss the rod under the plane, and I'll pick it up right after landing. In theory, that is.
Honestly, it is no big deal. But as I walked onto the Tarmac and approached the plane, I longingly handed my rod to the man in charge of loading the luggage into the rear cargo hold.
I was like a parent dropping off their child at daycare for the first time. "I'll see you soon!" I thought as I watched the baggage attendant toss the rod into the corner of the luggage cart. It seemed so unassuming compared to the rest of the suitcases clearly not small enough to fit into the overhead bins. It could be so easily left behind. I anxiously kept looking back as the line moved forward and the bags began to get tossed onto the conveyer belt carrying them up to the belly of the plane.
That's when I saw it. The man tossing the bags skipped my rod. It was now sitting alone as he moved towards the bags at the other end of the cart. Was that intentional? Was he saving it for last? He must be. The line was pushing me forward and up the steps into the plane. Even to attempt to yell over the roaring engines would surely have caused an unwanted commotion.
By the time I reached my seat and looked out the window, the baggage cart and conveyer belt was gone.
So there I sat. Trying not to think of catastrophe. Hoping with all my might that my rod will be sitting next to the plane when I land. After all, I'm going fishing tomorrow. Thankfully, I still had my tenkara rod telescoped at my feet ready to go if my western rod becomes another lost sock in the airport laundry room.