The little things that make us happy

"It has sentimental value," I said aloud, and Lakein didn't respond. I'm sure he'd heard that before.

His attention to the watch seemed to have intensified in the last minute or so — as if fired by the possibility of saving the patient. Perhaps the inner works had not become corroded. Perhaps Mr. Lakein had detected a ticking sound.

He stepped out from his workspace.

"You need a new wristband for it," he said, and I knew from that statement the operation must have been a success. You don't buy new shoes for a corpse.

"Wait. My old Timex works?" I asked. "You brought it back to life?"

"I'm surprised," Lakein said. "But, yeah ..."

"Does this happen a lot?" I asked. "Guy finds a watch in a drawer and walks in here to see if you can fix it?"

"Oh, yeah," Lakein said as he spread a selection of leather wristbands on the glass case in the front of the shop. "But that one I hadn't seen, must be 30 years."

I paid my bill and strapped on the watch for the first time since the days when William Donald Schaefer was mayor of Baltimore.

On the sidewalk, as evening started to descend on Harford Road, I looked at the handwritten bill: $9.95 for the wristband and $6.50 for the battery, plus tax.

There was no charge for Lakein's work, for the little miracle of new life in an old watch and the satisfaction that brings.

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