Why You Should Become a Member of FILOA

By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings

Here’s a story I sent off to ALOA’s Keynotes magazine and was published as part of their membership drive several years ago. I figure it should work just as well for the Fiercely Independent Locksmiths of America:

Last year’s tomato garden may have been my very best ever. The plants grew thick with tomatoes that were large and sweet. I enjoy a vine-ripened tomato sliced with a touch of salt; not much can beat the flavor.

Each year I take a few photographs to compare with prior crops. In this way, long after the last tomato has been eaten I can remember with a certain amount of satisfaction, having grown them in my back yard and look forward with renewed anticipation, the warmth of spring and yet another chance to plant some more. It wasn’t until mid-winter I discovered the reason for their success; tomato fairies.

No, I haven’t been re-visiting the 60’s and I haven’t taken a pain pill for my back in over a week. Like I said, I took pictures of my tomato plants; the best photograph I’ve been using on my computer as wall paper behind all the icons. This past week I was cleaning up the desk top, getting rid of some unused program icons which left a hole, as it were, in the middle of the desk top icons. More of the tomato plant picture could be seen, an area that heretofore I had ignored, my interest had been focused on the huge tomatoes. It now showed a part of the plants that were mostly leaves, off to the left of the part that had the tomatoes.

There, caught in the moment, mixed in with the lush green of the tomato plant leaves; was a clear and distinct image of a tomato fairy. She must have been flying in and out doing her magic at the very moment I took the picture; her wings outstretched as the reflection of the blue sky danced on them.

Not being an expert on tomato fairies, I have to assume the one in my picture must be a female fairy; either that or male fairies wear long gowns too. Her translucent figure blended in so well with the leaves as to render her nearly invisible. Had it not been for the sparkling of fairy dust near her head I would never have picked her out of the background. There was no denying her presence, the light blue wisp of gown as it gently floated above the plant, her face rising with the glow of tiny luminescent orbs to light her way. I showed the picture to my wife; but she insists my imagination has run away with me, that the image is the product of two leaves of varied hue and nothing more.

I’ve been involved with the locksmith business since 1976; starting out as a locksmith apprentice and eventually working for myself as an automotive locksmith specialist. I joined the Associated Locksmiths of America back in 1978. The fellow who introduced that organization to me explained that part of the yearly membership dues went to the Key Fairies. When I started to laugh he explained, in a sincere voice aged with maturity, how they work for professional locksmiths.

First he reminded me that, by nature and a solemn oath, Key Fairies are an honest lot and forbidden to steal keys in order to produce customers. They are permitted; however, to lay a corner of the daily newspaper over a set of keys which might lead the rightful owner to believe the keys had been lost. Fairies also have the ability to take a set of car keys from one pocket and move them to another, cause keys to fall into desk drawers and so on in order to provide opportunities for locksmiths to make a living.

In my twenty-five years as a locksmith I have never once seen a Key Fairy; all the same I have no doubt they have helped my business to grow. I renew my membership with ALOA without fail and know it’s a good investment. My wife can go on about the leaves making it appear or give the illusion of something that might look like a fairy. To see such things one has to have the faith of a child, regardless of age. I remember my mother telling me how she took a fairy from Staten Island across to Manhattan when she was young. What more need I say?

Now click on this link to download a copy of FILOA’s Membership Application.

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