Long Story Short: Mentioning unmentionables

My column last week was not a traditional column. I explained to readers about a trip I took to New Brunswick in August with a dozen local members of the media. We had just taken off from the New Orleans airport and reached our cruising altitude, when I unbuckled, stood up and grabbed my ever-important pillow from the overhead bin. I was resting with my eyes closed just about to drop off to sleep.

When someone tapped my left shoulder.

I turned around to find myself face-to-face with David D’Aquin, former reporter at KATC and now a reporter with NBC33 in Baton Rouge. We had met briefly on the bus on the way to the airport. I knew him as well as I knew any of the other members of the group.

D’Aquin leaned toward me, sort of pointed toward the aisle and said in an awkward whisper, “You dropped something.”

And in that instant, I realized with horror what I was about to see when I looked down.

You see, I’m a believer in packing a few vital necessities to carry on-board flights. Before I left that morning, I had stuck a few extra items in my pillowcase.

There, on the aisle between D’Aquin and Hoyt Harris, news anchor for KATC, were the emergency undies I had stuck in my pillowcase. They had fallen to the floor in my haste to sit back down and buckle up.

I was mortified. I mean mortified. I may bear my heart and soul in this spot every week, but I am unaccustomed to bearing much else. But what’s a girl to do?

There was no place to hide. We were on a plane and would be traveling together for a week. I guess I could have stayed mortified for the rest of the week because the entire group of strangers watched and waited for nearly five minutes for me to pick up my panties out of the aisle of the plane.

But, that would not have been fun. In the instant I realized what had happened and just as the drink cart was rolling in my head’s direction, I knew there was nothing to do but laugh.

I also knew D’Aquin and I would become good friends. I realized the poor guy had been debating what to do since the panties hit the floor.

“I think my jaw hit the floor of the airplane before your panties did. I didn’t know how to mention the unmentionables,” he said last week. “The stewardess started walking toward us and that’s when I had to tell you rather than have her pick them up and make an announcement.”

Five months after the fact, we’re still laughing. The incident became the joke of the week. No one could deny that panties in the aisle of a plane were anything short of hysterical.

During the course of the trip, I became good friends with Hoyt and Bette Harris also. Last week, Hoyt Harris gave further comment on the airing of my laundry at 29,000 feet.

“I really didn’t know Jan all that well, but with her drawers waving like a flag in the fuselage. Well, what an icebreaker,” he said. “We became great buds on the trip, and I think the world of her – and her lingerie has nothing to do with it!”

The moral of this story: When the nice television reporter taps your shoulder to let you know your panties accidentally fell out of your pillowcase and were there in the aisle of the plane for five minutes – in full view for one and all, pick up the panties, put them back in your pillowcase (with more care this time) and then laugh.

You can transfer the panties to a safer receptacle later.

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