Security issues

Despite the forecasts of heavy rain and thunderstorms, when we set off to see the house that Henry Flagler - one of John Rockefeller's wickedly rich partners in Standard Oil Corporation - built, the coconuts had already been thrown to the carefully manicured grass along the pavement during the night and the sun was shining through the palm leaves.

We walked through neighbourhoods with names like Seaview Avenue, Seabreeze Avenue and expensive gleaming cars marshalling the pink and white red tiled houses. Several brown spotted geckos kept us on our toes by furiously darting across the square paved stones.

When we got to the Flagler Museum, there was a small queue of people patiently waiting to go through the process of buying a ticket from a woman wearing butterfly glasses. There was a little girl wearing black patent leather shoes and white lace socks which made me remember that I used to wear things like that at her age. Her mother was carrying a tiny bundle with a round, sleeping head in a baby carrier. That was when the Dame Edna lady revealed a rather mean streak.
"You can't bring in the baby carrier," she announced through the glass, on her microphone.
"Why is that?" the baby's grandmother, magnificiently dressed in a red suit and two dozen glittering bangles around her arms, asked. The rest of the queue, including a bunch of people from Ohio and Boston, wondered the same.
"You can't bring in large bags into the Museum, those are the rules," said Dame Edna.
"But we don't want a tour, we're going to have a birthday lunch for this young lady in the Pavilion. And we've already paid for the entry tickets because we had to make a reservation." The grandmother's bangles shook as she pointed towards the patent leather shoes. But Dame Edna asked her to step aside as she called the security guard and the manager.
"I'd like to see her try to put a baby back to sleep," I said to M. quietly.
"It's ridiculous," the woman with dark hennaed hair behind me said.
"It's a baby carrier, what do they think they're going to do with it?" the man in front of me asked his partner in matching jeans.
"They're going to interview us next," his partner warned, as he tucked his hands into his Levi's. He was right - the butterfly glasses didn't even gleam as the lady asked for the zip code and where we came from. She nodded towards my bag, and said, "No water bottles, right?"
We scrammed for the building, past the fountain, and didn't dare touch the bottle of water in my bag the whole time we were in the seventy-three room mansion. The Pentagon's security has nothing on Dame Edna.

Later, when we went in search of the railcar that Henry built, we found the small family inside the pavilion which housed the ancient vehicle. It was a completely separate building from the palatial residence, and as we stared across the rippling water of Lake Worth, we wondered why the security guard and manager had made such a fuss - the railcar wouldn't have fitted into the baby carrier.

10:18 AM |