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  #1  
Old 06-16-2012, 04:10 PM
joseph engraver's Avatar
joseph engraver joseph engraver is offline
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Default My trip to the USA and The Engrave In

My trip to the U.S and Scott Pilkington’s Engrave-In began with a pleasant no problem flight to Mexico City, a sprawling twenty million monster with some beauty spots. My good friend Scott had made arrangements for Tom Baldwin to meet me at the baggage pick up in Atlanta.
Landing in the USA I followed the line of fellow passengers to Immigration where I handed over my valid US Passport and Mexican resident card. As the security official looked at them I could see that he was confused, I said with a smile “That is me Joseph only one name.” He looked at my documents and asked.” Are there any restraining orders against you?” No I replied. Without saying another word he placed my documents in a bright yellow envelope, motioned to a near by guard, handed said envelope. “Follow him” He instructed.
“Oh Crap” I thought. They have found my engraving tools and knives that I brought with me, now I will be late meeting Tom.
Following the guard down several corridors past interrogation offices I was brought to a desk where three intense TSA agents were working on computers.
The yellow envelope was turned over to a Man in Black and I was directed to take a seat in a glass enclosed cubical about 4 meters sq. I was one of six detainees. There were two unconcerned men, one very worried man, and two older women who talked in whispers that I have no doubt were very audible in another room. And then there was me.
We were all sitting on uncomfortable stainless steel benches that were bolted to the floor.
No one told me why I was there nor spoke a word as the glass doors slid open and whooshed closed when I passed through. There I sat for close to one hour feeling totally helpless like a trapped mouse. I spent the time imagining what I could have done to attract this unwanted and insulting treatment and worrying that Tom would leave thinking that I had not shown up at our appointed time.
The speaker called my name and one of the guards motioned to me.
I stood up, the doors slid open and I was escorted to the desk. Handing me my documents he said “Clear your baggage through customs.”
That was it, no other explanations. Frantically I went back to customs where I discovered all luggages on my flight had been picked up.
I found someone who told me that my bag had been sent to ‘Baggage Claim”.
Off I rushed looking for my knives tools and patient Tom. As I entered Tom saw me and recognizing me from Scott’s description (An old man wearing a big straw hat) he walked over and gave me the first warm welcome I received in Atlanta. I went to Baggage Claim, presented my documents and asked for my bag. After a search of the bags in storage and the computer I was told mine was not there, that I should come back in one hour.
“Welcome to the New America” I thought as I explained my exasperating situation to Tom.
No problem he said, let’s find something to eat while we wait. For the next hour we chatted about engraving ideas, and the preparing and cooking Alligator meat. We killed time discussing the tent, complete with solar heated shower that I would be sleeping in and the fine cabinetry that he has done.
Four hours and many frantic inquiries passed before my bag showed up. All this time Tom waited with patience and good humor.
We arrived at Scotts around one in the morning the lights were on and Scott came out. He gave me a bear hug and invited me into his home, told me that I had a room to myself upstairs. Tom said goodnight and left to set up his tent. Can I get you anything Scott asked? Have you any Brandy? A bottle of good cognac was found we toasted each other and retired.
Friday morning under dreary skies Tom and I took a walk to see the over-look and the beautiful Tennessee valley. Later I fixed lunch while Scott and newly arrived volunteers began all the work it takes to set up the best and friendliest engraving event I have ever attended; I was happy that it wasn’t set in a fancy hotel in Nevada. With no exact schedule of events to be precisely followed, and not a bit of pretention amongst the participants, we all pitched in to help set the stage for a show full of great new friends, food, music, and engraving seminars. Cables were strung, covered with tarps, then hoisted, tables and chairs were set up and sacks of potatoes were pealed. The magnificent green flying dragon sculpture was unveiled briefly But was covered up again as rain drops began pouring down and winds whipped the blue and red tarps into tethered sails trying to escape there moorings. Soon everyone is soaked and the awnings are pouring torrents of runoff water. Large bulges of water fill the unsupported areas of tarps to the point of collapse. Emergency measures were taken and slits were cut in critical areas to reduce the weight. When all was under control a great lunch was served to the volunteers: Fresh sweet corn, multi colored pasta salad, okra, beans with country bacon was my lunch selection. During the next three days every tasty item I tried was done to perfection; the pork butts were moist and tender, the potato salad with baby corn and carrots and artichoke hearts took my breath away, and then there was a cabbage dish to die for. Deep fried to a crisp golden brown shrimp, catfish, mullet and alligator were served with the most perfect sauce. There was lemonade, soft drinks, beer, whisky, wine, even an excellent French brandy.
Would you believe that four different flavors of moonshine accompanied this feast! Homemade dark chocolate brownies and vanilla ice cream for dessert to end it all. These are items that seem to stick most fondly in my memories of the first and I hope not the last trip to Scott Pilkington’s event. I have included few pictures in this post as I spent all my time eating, talking, laughing and drinking more than I normally do. The only disappointments I experienced was when I could not sight the cannon and when patient Tom ended up sleeping in his car to get out of the wet while I slept in comfort.
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File Type: jpg stringing cable.jpg (99.2 KB, 0 views)
File Type: jpg Scott's bit of paradise.jpg (118.6 KB, 0 views)
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Old 06-25-2012, 03:19 PM
tundratrekers@mtaonline.n tundratrekers@mtaonline.n is offline
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Default Re: My trip to the USA and The Engrave In

Wonderful Joseph!

mike
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Old 07-31-2012, 10:42 AM
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Roger Bleile Roger Bleile is offline
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Default Re: My trip to the USA and The Engrave In

Joseph,

I'm sorry, but not surprised, to hear of your tribulations with ICE (an appropriate acronym) at Atlanta. Cathi and I recently returned from a trip to the UK and Northern Europe. We didn't have the problems you had but the whole TSA/airline thing is a tremendous hassle that makes me think twice about further air travel.

Sorry I missed you at Scott's.

Roger
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