By CRAIG MILLAR Nov. 26, 2014
RALEIGH— Thanksgiving brings many good things to our families and loved ones: turkey. Football. Parades. Snow, if you’re Greensboro or west. Stuffing. TV specials. The second month of Christmas music.
But it also brings one of the most dreaded and horrible things for many Raleigh families: having to apply for an OTB passport.
Many ITB folks are blessed to have been born to families who had the sense to settle inside the comforting bosom of the Beltline, outside of which our forebears used to draw maps reading “Heare Be Draggones.”
But for some, whose parents may have immigrated from Garner, for instance, the reality is a seventh layer of corn pudding Hell.
“It’s a hassle having parents from Clayton,” said a mournful Jeri-Whitney Broomgrass. “They won’t apply for a green card to visit us, so we’re the ones doing all the legwork. We have to renew [the OTB passport] every five years, and this is one of those years. Right when we’re trying to move and the Benz just got new tires. I swear, those Clayton roads are murder on premium radials.”
The Post Office or the local library can help with the paperwork, said Broomgrass. Cameron Village librarian Jen Nunka agreed. “If families will fill out their OTB passport paperwork, or what’s known as an ITB-205, online, it saves a lot of time,” she said. “There’s not a lot of documentation involved. A utility bill and a form of identification like a Rex Hospital birth certificate. Also some basic ITB knowledge. There might be a trick question, like ‘How far outside the Beltline do people travel for good food?’ Well, duh. You don’t.”
Police are setting up checkpoints, so be prepared for lines stretching for up to three miles and enduring trips lasting well over a half hour, said Raleigh Police Department spokesman Jim Sughrue. At the checkpoints when coming back into town, drivers may have to prove their identity and their guests may have to have papers.
R. Bowen, a veteran Raleigh police sergeant, recalled an incident from a few years ago: “One lady said she was from Oakwood. No one is from Oakwood, first of all. When we did an iris scan, her eyes were just too close tougher. We knew then she was from Rocky Mount.”