When I was a young boy about ten years
old I used to visit my Grandpa and
Grandma. I did not realize at the time but my grandparents were baby sitting
me while my parents had things to do and I might get in the way. I sure
didn't care if I stayed with Grandma and Grandpa because the day was always
filled with happy times.
Grandma would fix my favorite dinner along with my favorite deserts.
Grandpa would sit and tell stories about when he was young.
He told me stories about Rover his pet
dog. He would tell me stories about
when he was in the army. He talked about the good times, his dreams, his
friendships and the things he liked most. He made up stories that stirred my
I would close my eyes and sail the pirate
ships. I would fight the fire
breathing dragons. I would travel the stars in space ships and experience
adventures under the sea.
Most of all I remember what looked like a
hundred keys that Grandpa had
hanging on a nail at the back door. Grandpa had fashioned a piece of wire
into a large loop with a clever hook that held the loop together much like a
safety pin. All the keys were hanging from this wire loop.
Grandpa would put a towel on the kitchen
table and I would take all the keys
off the wire and line them up on the towel. Grandpa would caution me not to
lose any of his keys.
I would organize all the keys into groups
of similar looking keys and keys of
the same color. He had some long black keys that looked like a nail with a
round end and long black teeth on the other end.
He would pick up each key and gently rub
it between his finger and thumb and
explain about each key.
"This one is for the front door of
the house. This is the one to the house
where your mom and dad lived before you were born.
"This is the key to my mothers house,
your great grandmother, before it
burned down 25 years ago."
"This is my skeleton key" he
would say with a smile. I loved my grandpa very
much, but I was not about to ask any questions about his skeleton key.
Grandpa also had some brass keys which he
studied with his keen eyes. "This
is the key to my old Ford that wore out many years ago. "
This is the key to the Oldsmobile that I
drive now, and this the key to the
trunk of my car. This is the key to the car that Grandma used to drive, and
this is the key to the garage." Grandpa never does lock the garage though.
Grandpa lovingly studied more keys.
"This is the key to the storage shed.
Sometime on Sunday I go over to the church to start the furnace, so this is
the key to the church."
Then grandpa picked up a strange looking
key and smiled. "This is a skate
key. This is the key to my bicycle lock." Grandpa had not had a bicycle in
over 30 years and who knows when he used to skate.
Then Grandpa picked up the strangest
looking key I had ever seen. "This is
not a key at all." he laughed, "It is a wrench for tightening up my bicycle
"This is the key to the office
building where I used to work, this is the key
to the front door of the office, and this little key fits the file cabinet
there." Grandpa retired 15 years ago.
Grandpa then picked up about 20 keys from
the table and explained "These keys
are LFL keys." Then he smiled and explained LFL meant long forgotten locks.
Grandpa also had another ring of keys
that were hung very high on the back
door frame. These keys were much larger, the ring was gold in color and the
ring was welded so it could not be opened to remove keys. Grandpa explained
that these keys were hung on the highest point on the door because they were
the most important keys of all and are not to be played with because they
were so valuable. He said when I got older he was going to give me those
Each key was about 5 inches long and had
words printed on them. Grandpa told
me that the special keys were the keys to everything important. These are the
keys of life and the keys to Heaven. The wording on key keys must be studied,
lived and its message imprinted in your brain and branded into your soul.
Grandpa lived up to his promise. On my
eighteenth birthday I went to visit
Grandma and Grandpa. He tenderly handed the keys to me. When I studied the
keys I realized what my Grandpa meant when he spoke of the keys.
The first key was gold in color and the
most important of all the keys. On
one side it said "LOVE". On the other side it said "Love of God, fellow man,
friends, family and children, Love of country, Love of God's creations and
Love of God's unfortunate souls".
The second key and all of the other keys
were silver. On one side it said
"FORGIVE" . On the other side it said "Forgive your enemy, forgive those who
do you harm, forgive those who say and do unkind things to you or about you".
The third key said "PATIENCE" .
On the reverse side it said "Patience of
people, traffic, long lines, those who fail to show patience and patience
toward children, old people and the handicapped.
The fourth key said "UNDERSTANDING"
. Try to see the other side of the issue"
The fifth key said "HAPPINESS".
Be happy even in adversity. Remember every
cloud has a silver lining and as the cloud passes the sun will shine again.
The sixth key said "THANKFUL".
Be thankful for all you have and do not be
saddened by the things you do not have.
The seventh key said "INDUSTRIOUS".
Remember if a job is worth doing, it is
worth doing right, and a honest days work for an honest days pay".
The eighth key said "CLEANLINESS".
Keep your body and your mind clean.
Cleanliness is next to Godliness".
The ninth key said "HONESTY".
Be truthful at all times and remember some of
the worst lies are shrouded in silence".
The tenth key said "EDUCATION".
Learn to be all you can be. Do not let your
mind go to waste".
Now, I'm the grandpa and although I do
not have as many keys as my Grandpa
had in his collection. The most important keys are hung on the highest point
of my back door. When my first grandchild reaches her eighteenth birthday I
will tell her about my Grandpas key and how she and her family should live by
the keys message. I will ask her to pass them to her oldest grandchild.
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