The Box

  1. A young man learns what's most important in life from the guy
    next door.
    It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College,
    girls, career,
    and life itself got in the way. In fact, Jack moved clear
    across the country in pursuit of his dreams.

    There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to
    think about the past and often no time to spend
    with those important to him. He was working
    on his future, and nothing could stop him.

    Over the phone, his mother told him, "Mr.. Belser died last night.
    The funeral is Wednesday."

    Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he
    sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

    "Jack, did you hear me?"

    "Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It's been so long since I
    thought of him.
    I'm sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago," Jack
    said.

    "Well, he didn't forget you. Every time I saw him he'd ask how
    you were doing. He'd reminisce about the many days you spent over
    "his side of the fence" as he put it," Mom told him.

    "I loved that old house he lived in," Jack said.

    "You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr.Belser stepped in
    to make sure you had a man's influence in your life," she said.

    "He's the one who taught me carpentry," he said. "I wouldn't be
    in this business if it weren't for him. He spent a lot of time teaching
    me things he thought were important...Mom, I'll be there for the funeral,"
    Jack said.

    As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next
    flight to his hometown. Mr. Belser's funeral was small and uneventful.
    He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed
    away.

    The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom
    stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.

    Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like
    crossing over into another dimension , a leap through space and time.

    The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held
    memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture....
    Jack stopped suddenly.

    "What's wrong, Jack?" his Mom asked.

    "The box is gone," he said.

    "What box? " Mom asked.

    "There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his
    desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside.
    All he'd ever tell me was
    "the thing I value most," Jack said.

    It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack
    remembered it, except for the box.
    He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.

    "Now I'll never know what was so valuable to him," Jack said.
    "I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom."

    It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning
    home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox.
    "Signature required on a package. No one at home.
    Please stop by the main post office within the next three days,
    " the note read.

    Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box
    was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago.
    The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address
    caught his attention."Mr. Harold Belser" it read.
    Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package.
    There inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack's hands shook
    as he read the note inside.

    "Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to
    Jack Bennett.
    It's the thing I valued most in my life." A small key was taped
    to the letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully
    unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.
    Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched
    the cover. Inside he found these words engraved:

    "Jack, Thanks for your time! -Harold Belser."

    "The thing he valued most...was...my time."

    Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office
    and cleared his appointments for the next two days.
    "Why?" Janet, his assistant asked.
    "I need some time to spend with my son," he said. "Oh, by the
    way, Janet...thanks for your time!"
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   unknown99
    AWWW Fran...
    I cried so hard!!!! This was beautiful!!! THANK YOU for sharing!!!!!
  4. by   Energizer Bunny
    Fran, I had heard this before, but it was great to read again. Thank you for sharing it and reminding me of the importance of spending time with my kiddos.
  5. by   jnette
    Beautiful and only too true.

    When we have nothing at all to give, we can still give of our time.
  6. by   Dixiedi
    Read that years ago but it's a keeper and should be repeated often. Thanks!
  7. by   leslie :-D
    very poignant and moving...yes, time is a gift. but then again, so are you fran.

    leslie xoxo
  8. by   FranEMTnurse
    How nice of all of you to say those things. And Leslie, xo
  9. by   Saved_by_Grace
    So very heartwarming! Thanks for sharing!

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