This is an entry in a series of posts I’m writing about objects I have that I love. I set up a light tent in the basement to use for a winter photography project and I’m going to try and post one of these a week and see where it goes.
I bought my first Scout in 1997, and it came with many things. The seller threw in all the parts he’d collected over the years, which filled up a big Rubbermaid tub, a set of roof racks we stuck in the back, a soft top, and a bikini top. After I’d done the test drive, I handed over my envelope of cash ($2,800 in Benjamins), we signed the paperwork on the hood, and he handed me the keyfob: a battered leather teardrop with a metal badge stitched at the top.
In the 70’s, these keyrings were sold everywhere cheap tourist gifts were available, and usually every make of car was represented with a decent approximation of the company logo. Ford and Chevy lovers could choose from several versions. Smaller makes like SAAB or Volvo got one choice. And niche manufacturers like International got a sort of half-assed version, where only one of the two logo colors was reproduced. I’ve seen these keyrings sold here and there over the years, but these days the available brands have consolidated, mirroring the auto industry as a whole. This ring still holds the original ignition key, as well as keys for the center console, the gas cap, Rotopax lock, and the garage key. It also held a door key which didn’t work in either of the locks, which are useless with the top off anyway. I put that aside.
Also on this keyring for a while was a gift from our friend Mike C. in Colorado, who sent it to me care of the Air Force Academy. This is a genuine weapon safing ribbon from the flight line (not the cheap knockoffs you see on fake bomber jackets these days) he sent me a few years ago, explaining it was backsheesh (a charitable contribution or a bribe, depending on who you ask in the Middle East). I added it on the ring for several years until I realized the white printed lettering was wearing off, and retired it from active duty.
Note: garage key teeth obscured for security reasons.