Wednesday, 2 March 2011

The Secret Box

It is a very busy time, the digging season, so I may not be here every day, though I do promise to try.
I spent hours yesterday trying to dig the soil. I am slowly but surely getting it ready for the future crops.
I had a visit from a friend, as I toiled. He had his young son with him and I had so pleasure telling him what I was doing and why.  He seemed very interested. This in turn reminded me of a beautiful story I was once inspired by.

It was the story of Jack, who spent so much of his time with his next door neighbour, but as is the way of life,  college, girls,
career, 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 his wife and son. 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, Mother, 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
t he fence' as he put it," Mum 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,.
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 Mum 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 Mum asked.

"The box is gone," he said.

 "What box? " Mum 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. It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from 
work one day Jack discovered a note in his letterbox.

"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 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!"

This blog is linked to my other.  Iona


  1. perfect story with the right message! Thanks for sharing it, Ralph

  2. Hmm.. what a good story. I kow tim is something I seem to never have enough of. However, you are right, people are always whats most important.

    So what are are you going to plant?

  3. Don't overdo, Ralph! And I loved this story. Raised the goosebumps it did!

  4. Great story. Time. Every hour that passes is gone. We think we have so much time but as you get older you realize how little we really have.

  5. What a wonderful tale! A "Jack" story in the finest tradition! Incredible. My eyes welled up. Anyway, that sky is something else! Wm

  6. Great story. Made me cry a bit.

  7. I am all misty eyed here...thanks Ralph

  8. What a great story! You just never know when time spent with someone will mean the world to them. You are good to remind us of that.