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All my bags are packed and I'm ready to go. I'm leaving on a jet plane, just as soon as I gather a handful of grass from the front yard.

I never leave home without putting the lawn in my pocket.

carry my grass clippings in a plastic bag; they're a comfort to me amid new surroundings.

Travelers often carry with them a personal keepsake, memento or lucky charm. Some items are frivolous; others are practical. But all meet the needs of the wayfarer.

Here are some Marylanders and the essentials they take from home:

Ron Shapiro, sports agent:

pair of Nike running shoes. They've run in London, the Caribbean and every spring-training camp in Florida and Arizona. They provide me with a good way to do business and see the town."

Aleta Greene, nightclub singer:

cute little wind-up alarm clock has traveled with me for 18 years. It has this delicate little tinkle that wakes me up whether I'm in New Orleans or Ireland."

Bill Howard, director, Union Memorial Sports Medicine Clinic:

carry a 6-inch pocketknife, which is always getting me in trouble with the airlines. Occasionally the knife gets impounded, but I always get it back at the end of the flight. I'm a surgeon, and I never know when I may need the knife. It also helps me open cans of peanuts."

Pam Shriver, tennis pro:

sleep-noise machine goes everywhere with me. It makes uniform sounds and drowns out all those funny noises you hear in hotels. Also, I never leave home without the piece of rubber surgical tubing I use to strengthen my arm. I tie it to the doorknob of the hotel room and do arm exercises."

J. Joseph Curran Jr., Maryland attorney general:

simply never go anywhere without my St. Christopher medal. Everything I've ever read makes me believe it gives you a slight advantage. You've got to have some higher power going for you."

Rudy Miller, WMAR-TV newswoman:

carry a sentimental piece of brown leather luggage, a carry-on bag that my husband bought for me when I went on my first TV job interview, which was in Baltimore."

Kweisi Mfume, Maryland representative, 7th District, U.S. House Representatives:

laptop computer goes everywhere. I use it for work, but also to check baseball scores."

Lola Jones, salon owner:

framed photograph of my son, Oliver, which I always put on the hotel nightstand. He's 15 years old now, but he's only 10 in the picture. He'd probably be horrified if he saw it."

Tom Kiefaber, owner, Senator Theater:

agent's home number, in case I'm offered a speaking role in the movie, "Toys II -- Barry (Levinson's) Revenge."

Alexander Baer, interior designer:

There is always an old hammer in my travel bag, because clients often have something to hang in their homes, and seldom can they find a hammer of their own. I've been carrying a hammer for five years. I used to pound on people's walls with my shoe."

Joyce Scott, artist:

two good-luck pieces, a rock and a glass eyeball, go everywhere with me. My mother 'made' the rock by covering it with stitchery and beads. The eyeball is heavy enough to chuck at somebody. If I have enough guts to pull an eyeball out of my pocketbook, who's going to mess with me?"

Jimmy Judd, antiques dealer:

don't leave home without my silk Italian raincoat. Being silk, it packs well. It's my favorite piece of clothing. It's a $1,400 coat that I got for $225. Being in antiques, I know the importance of a great buy."

Barbara Wilks, architect:

travel as a source of inspiration, so there's a small sketchbook in my purse in which I draw, doodle and record my thoughts. I'll sketch people, landscapes and lots of weird, quirky little things. I

pick out different themes on different trips."

Gregg Olson, Orioles' pitcher:

always take a computer sports game that I can play by myself or with teammates. I play it on planes and in hotel rooms. It keeps me in at night."

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