I carry 16 things on my keychain.

Only four of those things are keys.

There is my car key, of course. I used to carry the other family members’ car keys on my keychain, because I am the Keeper of the Keys in Case You Lock Yourself Out of Your Car. But I recently off-loaded those keys and now I just keep them in my purse.

I also carry a house key, a church key (the kind that unlocks a church door, not the kind that opens a beer bottle) and a mystery key. I have no idea what the mystery key unlocks, which is why I can never throw it away.

Also on my keychain:

• A tiny flashlight (very practical).

• Two library cards (one for me, one for my son).

• Reward cards for two drugstores and two grocery stores.

• YMCA membership card (hey, I didn’t know I had that!).

• A keychain made from a strip of colorful fabric with my name on it, which was a gift from my husband. (Yes, I have a keychain on my keychain.)

• A keychain with a silver Lego on it, another gift from my husband, and another keychain on my keychain. (It gets worse.)

• A keychain with a miniature Eiffel tower on it, which is a souvenir my daughter brought me from a school trip to Paris.

• One empty key ring, in case I need to put something else on my keychain.

The last time I took my car in for service, the mechanic warned me that I had too many things on my keychain. All that weight was putting extra wear and tear on the ignition switch.

A few days ago, I found something else to put on my keychain.

My son and I were going through a box of family heirlooms. We found a cameo brooch belonging to my maternal grandmother, and a flower pin belonging to my paternal grandmother.

Inside a small case were my grandfather’s pocketknife, my mother’s baby rings, and a necklace that was a wedding gift from my grandfather to my grandmother.

Inside a tiny box was a string of pearls that was my father’s first gift to my mother.

Nestled at the bottom of the box, looking decidedly out of place, was an old-fashioned wooden clothespin. It had been decorated with stickers and hand-drawn flowers. It looked suspiciously like a Cub Scout project. It was a gift to my mom from one of my favorite cousins.

On the end of the clothespin was a key ring.

I can’t let this wonderful clothespin go back in the box, can I? I have to put it on my keychain, right?

It could replace that YMCA membership card.


Lisa Davis is Features Editor of The Anniston Star. Contact her at 256-235-3555 or

Features Editor Lisa Davis: 256-235-3555.