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suitcasesAfter an overnight flight to meet my father at his latest military assignment, my mother wearily arrived at Rhein-Main Air Base in Germany with my eight siblings and me - all under age 11. Collecting our many suitcases, the ten of us entered the cramped customs area.

A young customs official watched our entourage in disbelief, "Ma'am," he said, "do all these children and this luggage belong to you?"

"Yes, sir," my mother said with a sigh. "They're all mine."

The customs agent began his interrogation: "Ma'am, do you have any weapons, contraband or illegal drugs in your possession?"

"Sir," she calmly answered, "if I'd had any of those items, I would have used them by now."

The official allowed us to pass without opening a single suitcase.