Keller was a treasured friend
I got to know Wayne Keller many years ago when I first started taking tools to be sharpened. I would place them in the box with my name and number, and he would call when they were sharpened. I would pick them up and put the money in an envelope and put it in the door slot.
Sometimes I would see Wayne and we would talk for a few minutes. As the years passed the talks got longer. There were many times I would just go out to visit. Wayne told me how he helped paint a mural on the side of Tim’s Bar at First and Clinton streets.
He was at Fort Leonard Wood and Fort Bliss, the same two places our son was at. He was also in Nevada where he was a driver for a general.
He would always start out saying, I don’t know if I told you this or not,” and I would say no so I could listen to it again.
Some visits turned into hours. He could sharpen anything I took to him. He could make a walking stick out of a Buckeye sapling and a life from a piece of steel.
I tried to buy a knife from him but he said no. “I’ll let you have one and we will trade work for it,” he said. So every time I went to Wayne’s he had some work for me to do.
We would stoke up the wood stove in the winter to warm the shop and have a few beers, shot of whiskey or a glass of wine. He would talk about the Miami and Erie Canal and the power dam because he loved history.
Sometimes we would take walks back to the woods just to enjoy the day. He only allowed a few to hunt on his land, and I was one of the privileged. Sometimes Marc would go with me and take Wayne fish that he had caught. Wayne’s eyes would light up because he loved fish.
Other people would visit such as Eric, Big John, Ed, Chris and countless other who formed a friendship with Wayne. I will always remember him for his kindness and companionship.