Grandpa's Keys


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 very soul.

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 spokes."

"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 special keys.

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 an 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.

Author unknown. If anyone has a proprietary interest in this story please authenticate and I will be happy to credit, or remove, as the circumstances dictate.

Thanks to Sherry M. Keith-Rudd [email protected]

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