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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Peggy McCracken

Squarely Pegged

By Peggy McCracken

Three significant
dates all in a row

Sunday marked the 35th anniversary of my first day on the job as an Enterprise reporter/editor. Monday was the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. And Tuesday would have been my late husband’s 80th birthday.

Not that I would have remembered any of them without prompting. Pam Rasberry sent me an e-card congratulating me on my 35th anniversary in the news business. And the date on this column reminded me of Leon’s birthday. Everybody knows the banks are closed and schools are dismissed in memory of Dr. King.

Memory is not one of my better attributes these days. Every time I leave the house, I check to make sure my long string of keys to the car, house, office, church, God’s Army, three post office boxes, two distant houses and other stuff is attached to my purse. Then when I get to the post office, I make sure to take the keys with me.

The trouble usually comes when I get to the office. Or if I make a detour like I did recently, when I stopped at the courthouse to pay taxes and register my car. Yep, I left the keys in the ignition. Fortunately, it was only a short walk to the office, where Laura Rodriguez sweetly complied with my request to take me home to get my spare key.

Trouble escalated when I couldn’t find either of the two spare keys I am supposed to have. I called Colt Chevrolet, gave them the VIN and plate numbers so they could make me a new key, then asked Laura to take me out there. Fifteen minutes and $18.88 later, I had a new key and was able to retrieve my car and continue what turned out to be a long day.

Did that painful experience make me any more careful? Apparently not. Two weeks later I left the keys lying on the front seat of my car when I got out at the office. Since someone had already unlocked my office door, I didn’t even miss the keys until I started to the bank at noon. Sure enough, there they were, safely locked inside the car. This time, Lorna Navarette rescued me, as she has many times. And this time, the spare key was where it was supposed to be.

I have tried many plans to have a spare key handy when I need it. One was carrying the key in my purse, and that saved me several times. But when I leave my purse in the car too, that method doesn’t work. I have had to call Kim Ewing or Velma Bradley to let me in my own house when that happened. So I located a safe hiding place for the house and car keys outside.

That method works when the keys are left in place. The hard part comes when I or someone else uses one of the keys and fails to replace it.

If I ever lost my entire wad of keys, I would be up a creek. When I go out of town, I usually take just the keys I need and leave the others in the trunk of my car. Once I failed to do that, and the keys got lost in a San Antonio hotel. I was able to get another car key made, but had to do without all the others for several days until the lost string arrived by FedEx.

It is not funny, but I read a joke recently about a woman who had called a locksmith to open her locked car. When he took out that long metal tool locksmiths use, she quipped that it would be nice if someone would invent such a device that is portable. He said, “They did. It is called a key.”

Thank God for friends and family (and locksmiths).

“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Peggy McCracken is Enterprise business manager. Contact her at

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