Let me take you back to the summer of 2002. My brother, nana, and I went on a trip to Washington D.C. with the youth group at my church. If I’m being honest, I don’t remember much about the trip in regards to the tourist sites or the friendly Christian fine arts competition we competed in, in a Godly way.
The two memories seared into my brain are all thanks to my nana.
This was before iPads and Kindles. We had to use our imagination to occupy ourselves during this five-hour flight. About halfway through the boredom was too much, so I turned to my nana for guidance.
Flying from LAX to Washington DC was my first time on an airplane and I was, of course, nervous about my first time in the sky. After the anxiety of take-off faded, I found myself bored.
“Nana, I’m bored.”
“Play with yourself!”
I quickly looked around to see if anyone heard the sinful and illegal activity my nana casually advised me to do on an airplane. Side note: I learned later from the 2009 movie, The Hangover, “It’s not illegal. It’s frowned upon, like masturbating on an airplane.”
The disgusted look I gave my nana was me overcompensating to hide the fact that I’d been taking care of business since I was in preschool. Just kidding, I could never do such a thing because Jesus’s love was enough for me. My nana was kidding. She loves her shock humor.
Now let’s flash forward to a couple of days into our trip. Today is the day we are going to see the White House! But we were in a post 9/11 world which meant, tourists were only allowed to view it from the outside, no little church teenage terrorist inside. Got it. We strolled around the big white building, “oohing” and “ahhing”, when all of a sudden nana spotted the perfect spot for her grandkids to get their picture taken. She pulled out her digital camera since this was before phones had cameras and tell my brother and me where to stand. We’re smiling, trying to keep our eyes open even though the sun is shining right in our faces, and nana instructs, “move back a little”. So we do. “A little more.”
She’s out of control.
And we listen because she’s our nana but this time, our one two-step prompted a police officer to run over yelling at us.
“Folks, you cannot go back anymore! There is a red line here that you can’t cross!”
This upsets nana.
“I just want a photo of my grandkids. Kids, it’s okay, just one more step back.”
“Ma’am, look up on the roof. Do you see those men dressed in black holding guns?”
“Those men are instructed to shoot whoever crosses this red line.”
“Well, that’s just crazy!”
And at that moment, standing in front of the White House, my life flashed before my eyes. Look, I know you’re not supposed to negotiate with a terrorist but desperate times ya know?
“Nana, it’s okay. We can just take the photo in front of the red line and you’ll still get your photo…”
Nana backed down and we took our photo in front of the red line. Maybe she realized that if my brother and I died, she’d only have three grandkids left. One picture wasn’t worth the trimming of her family tree. But I’ll admit, I’m thankful Instagram wasn’t around during this time, because nana for sure would’ve had her grandkids shot on the spot for the likes.