I have four key rings, but two of them get little use. One ring has only one key on it, the key to the Nissan Versa that I usually drive. It’s the ring with the fob that locks and unlocks the door and blows the horn.

Key ring No. 2, a leather and metal concoction emblazoned with the first initial of my first name, is mainly for the house key, though it holds three other keys. One of those is the key to my bicycle lock, a lock that sadly gets little use these days, as my Schwinn Typhoon has been sequestered in the basement for a few years. I always intend to haul it upstairs into the garage in spring, fill its tires and ride it through the warm months. Perhaps next year.

There are two other keys on key ring No. 2. One is for a Master padlock, but I have no idea where the padlock is. The last time I recall seeing it was in August 1991 when I used it to lock the sliding back door of the rental truck while moving from Columbia, Missouri, to the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Park. It’s no doubt in a box somewhere, but all I know this morning is that five house keys have come and gone from that key ring – each replaced by another – since I last used the padlock.

The fourth key on the “G” key ring is also for a padlock, I think, this time a Curtis brand. I think that was for the lock on one of Mom’s storage units, the one we no longer use since we merged her two units into one storage unit in the small town of Sartell north of here.

And that brings us to key ring No. 3, one that promotes a local auto dealer. That one holds the key to the storage unit in Sartell, and I keep it in the fanny pack that I carry with me almost every place I go. That key ring also has three other keys on it, and I’m not sure what they’re for. I think they’re a house key and two copies of the mail key from the house Mom owned before she moved into the assisted living center more than eight years ago.

Key ring No. 4 is a souvenir I bought some years ago when the Texas Gal and I went to an exhibit in the Twin Cities of artifacts from the tomb of King Tut and other Egyptian pharaohs. I had no need of a key ring, but it looked nice and I wanted some kind of souvenir from the exhibit. (I also bought a CD of the Egyptian-inspired ambient music that was playing in the background for the exhibit.) These days, key ring No. 4 is home to my keys for our second car, a Chevy Cavalier.

Right now, key ring No. 4 is with the Texas Gal at her office, as she was unable this morning to find her collection of keys, which consists of a lanyard with perhaps as many as five different key rings attached. All her current keys are in that jumble, along with keys for locks she no longer needs to open, some of those dating back perhaps twenty years. (We spoke on the phone soon after she reached her office. She found her keys in the bottom of her computer bag and not in the purse where she generally keeps them.)

I said at the beginning of this recitation that I have four key rings. I suppose it’s more accurate to say that I have four current key rings. I’m sure that in a box or two, I would find one or two or more key rings with more keys for locks long gone. I certainly have a set somewhere for the house over on Kilian Boulevard, a place I left in 1976 and which Mom left in 2004.

And I get the sense as I write this that I could retrace the story of my life through the keys I’ve kept and the locks I’ve left behind. That’s something to ponder, and as we do so, we can listen to “Keeper Of The Keys,” an anthem from Brewer & Shipley’s 1968 album Down In L.A.


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