I guess I really have not given key chains much thought over the past 30 years or so. That is, until today.
I remember my first key chain. I was not even close to driving age yet but I had a little key chain. The novelty of buying souvenirs at roadside stops was new to me when my family started taking summer vacations by car. This was back in the early 1970’s. Places were popping up along highways and were great for families to stop in relative comfort and safety. They boasted gas, clean restrooms, air conditioning and deals on pecan logs. I never had a pecan log but apparently they were the rage because still today I see highway signs boasting that they have pecan logs.
Souvenirs with our names on them was a novelty. It was not like today where there are unlimited items with hundreds of names to choose from. At the time only a few of the most common names were available. Lucky for me I have a common name or at least it was a common name back then.
So, being about ten years away from being able to drive (at that time the legal driving age was 18), I had my own key chain. It was leather, had my name on it and pretty flowers like you saw everywhere back in the 1970’s. Summer vacations were a time when most families drove to their destinations rather than flying. Flying a family our size was expensive. Heck, back then, flying just one person was expensive. So every summer on at least one stop I would pick up something to add to my key chain. I did not have a key, just several key chains strung together. I just thought they were pretty. When hardware stores started selling keys of different colors my Dad bought a red blank key for me to put on my chain. I was sooo grown up!
Fast forward to the past year; I have been slowly giving away the keys on my grown up key chain. I had not really thought about it until today. Key chains and keys are not something we generally put a lot of thought into unless we cannot find them. Each time I removed a key over the past year it had a little pang of sadness go away with it.
I sold a business which took two keys off the chain. We sold Mark’s car, there went another key. We have a car in storage with a friend, there went another key. We also sold our home, another key gone. Luckily the pang did not last long. We are moving forward toward our new life. It was part of the journey but a bit bittersweet.
I have only four keys left. All but one will be relinquished in the next month or so. A marina key, a post office box key and a key to a car we plan to sell. The boat key will be our only key left and a constant for our cruising life. How funny, if only the boat key was red I would have gone full circle.