Locksmiths: An Innkeeper’s Journal

JUNE 2015: Today a couple from Queens set off from the Inn to take a long walk. They called an hour later to say they had bit off more than they could chew and asked if Rich could drive up Lovers Lane to pick them up. When they returned we sat in the living room and they shared their stories.

Locksmiths by trade, they inherited the business from the wife’s father.

“My Dad taught me how to pick a lock when I was four,” the wife tells us.

It appears to be a very profitable business because as you can imagine, there are lots of locks in New York City and apartments are constantly changing tenants. Their largest business expense is parking tickets. Their van is a mobile machine shop and they need to park close by, so it’s one of the costs of doing business in the city.

Their son is walking across America to raise money for Crohn’s disease. He has been on the road since February and is now in Oklahoma. He had been traveling with a guy from Germany who was much taller and they split up somewhere in Texas, the German’s longer stride carrying him further each day. He was tired of the slow pace. The locksmith sends her son weekly packages via General Delivery and sometime flies out to deliver in person.

“But I told him I didn’t need to visit Oklahoma.”

We told her about the night we were traveling cross-country and got caught in a hail storm in El Reno, Oklahoma. We passed on the camping that night and checked into a motel room where we set up our little cook stove just outside the door and grilled Fred Flintstone size T-Bones as the sky cleared. A blazing red sunset filled the flat prairie landscape as far as the eye could see.

Our lady locksmith was also a professional clown for twenty years and sang with Billy Joel at the 92nd Street YMCA in Brooklyn. He was giving a talk on the things he had learned throughout his life and invited the audience to ask him anything they wanted to ask. The locksmith asked, “Can I sing with you?” and Billy Joel said yes.

Her husband recently hiked Machu Picchu, plays basketball daily, and enjoys all sorts of sports. He made a point of telling of us he was not the one who bit off more than he could chew on the walk up Lover’s Lane.

He is planning for his retirement and is need of new challenges. They thought they might like to run a bed and breakfast so they attended a convention somewhere in Ohio.

“After a full weekend of learning about B&B’s we decided we didn’t really want to run a B&B, but we like staying in them so now we just support the industry.”

It appears they also like attending conventions. A few months ago she suggested they attend a whistling convention in North Carolina.

“My husband’s a great whistler. He’s always whistling in the shower and he’s really good.”

Whistlers from all over the world attend this annual event. “Australians are good, but the Japanese are the best,” the husband told us. “They can do strange things with their tongues. I’m a decent enough whistler but when I got there and heard the other whistlers I decided I wasn’t good enough to compete.”

I tell them they should write a book, and if they don’t, I am going to create at least five characters from their stories. They wrote a page long thank you in our guest book and left a forty dollar tip on the night table in their room.

So far, they are our favorite guests.



4 thoughts on “Locksmiths: An Innkeeper’s Journal

  1. What interesting guests! I’m sure that is part of the joy of being an Innkeeper, meeting all the folks who travel thru! Thanks for sharing! You’re still inspiring me!


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