My dear friend of many years, Sharon Fuqua, sent the story below to me and I want to share it with you. Sharon and I used to live next to each other on barrier islands along the coast of South Carolina. Her home was on Kiawah Island; mine was on Seabrook Island. If you hurried and if the tide was right, you could walk along the beach from one island to the next. I don’t recall ever doing that with Sharon but I do recall meeting with her on Tuesday mornings for a time of prayer, devotions and friendship along with a small group of other island believers at the home of Ethel Wenrich where we also always enjoyed some of Ethel’s fabulous baked goods! We dubbed ourselves “Tuesday Girls” and were blessed to make and spend time together.
All that has changed now. Sharon and her husband Gordon were the first to move and eventually Bill and I did likewise. The Tuesday Girl gatherings continued without us until Ethel went to her eternal rest. From time-to-time we would make the extra effort to reunite but lately life and distance has more often than not kept that from happening.
I intend to rectify that situation! Read what Sharon has shared with me and you will see why…
Over the phone, his mother told him, “Mr. Belser died last night and 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. And Mom, I’ll be there for the funeral.”
As busy as he was, he kept his word and 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 his return, 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, every picture, and every piece of furniture held memories.
Jack stopped suddenly…
“What’s wrong?” his Mom asked.
“The box is gone,” he said.
“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 given it a new home.
“Now I’ll never know what was so valuable to him,” Jack mused…
About two weeks after his return home, Jack discovered a note in his mailbox.
His signature was required for a package being held for him at the Post Office.
The note said “No one was at home to accept the delivery. Please stop by the main Post Office within the next three days.”
Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. Inside was the small gold box and an envelope addressed to him in shaky handwriting that was difficult to read.
Inside the envelope were a note and a key.
Jack’s hands shook as he carefully opened the envelope and 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.” It was signed, “Harold Belser.”
With his heart racing and tears filling his eyes, Jack 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.”
Jack whispered to himself, “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?” his assistant Beth asked.
“I need some time to spend with a friend,” he said.
“And by the way, Beth, thanks for your time!”
And thank YOU for taking the time to read this little blog of mine.
Love and prayers,