when the key breaks, the car won't start

My favorite television show is still the Andy Griffith Show. Whenever I am sick or feeling beat up by the world, this sweet and simple show lifts my spirits.

The characters and the familiar settings feel like home.

I love the episodes with Emmett Clark, the fix-it man. He’s often shown tinkering with a toaster or some other small appliance.  He’s a handy man.

We live in a world where things are much harder to repair and there are fewer handy people. Both my sewing machine and my camera are digital and rely on computer chips and sophisticated technology to work properly. Even my car ignition key has a chip and requires programming to start the car. (I realize there are newer cars that don’t even require a key to start, but my car is old.)

I take little things, like my car key, for granted. And this is all well and good, until it’s not. As I headed out for errands this morning, and tried to start my car, the key snapped apart. It took some work, but I managed to pull the broken key from the ignition. I felt the wave of dread that comes whenever something necessary breaks – because it often means two things. One, it’s going to cost me money, sometimes a lot of money. And, two, it’s not going to be easy. I’m going to have to do some research online, go to a store, hunt down help, or do without. None of this makes me happy.

Today we got lucky. My husband and I decided to try a locksmith to solve the problem. A quick online search and we had our choice – convinced by a single line on the website –

We want to offer that "better than box store" product, and want you to know the difference.

Just what we were looking for.

We carried the bits and pieces of my broken key and fob to Professional Lock and hoped for the best. We received courteous and professional service, walking out the door in about 20 minutes with our new key in hand. The key was affordably priced and worked perfectly on the first try. Five stars! ★★★★★

While we waited for the new key, the serviceman behind the counter chatted with us. We all agreed that the key was made with a poor design as only a small nub of key was housed in the plastic casing, a small and insecure base for twisting the long lever of the key shaft. It was hard for me to concentrate on the conversation because the rows of shiny keys called for my attention. Finally, I mentioned that I was a photographer and asked if I could take a few pictures. I often get some pretty odd looks when I ask to take pictures of things that most people would overlook, but not this time. The locksmith invited me behind the counter and suggested possible ideas for a point of view of the keys. He took me on a tour of the back room to see the old vintage Diebold safe and the Harley-Davidson neon sign in the office.

That office was the coolest mix of old – with its wood paneling, calendar on the wall, Marshall radio, handset phone, and neon sign – and new - with the computer, mouse, and printer.

Getting a new key has never been more fun. So happy to see fix-it and repair services are still going strong.