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Man Realizes What Matters Most in Life After Dead Neighbor Left Him A Gold Box

Ann Nuñez

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In a world as busy as ours, we sometimes overlook the most important of all things. We get so lost in our everyday work that we tend to skip spending quality time with friends and family. In our desire to make sure that we provide well for our family and our future, we sacrifice a lot of things.

This heartwarming story of an old man and his young neighbor is a perfect example of what is most important in our life.

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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 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.

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Photo credit: sydweedon.com

“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 wasn’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.

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Photo credit: duke.edu

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 package 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 package out to his car and ripped it open. 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 value most in my life”. A small key was taped to the letter. His heart raced as tears filled his eyes. Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.

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Photo credit: godvine

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 held the watch for a few minutes. “The thing he valued most… was… my time.”

He 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”.

We must remember that when the time comes that  our respective works and businesses are long gone, the only constant things in our lives are our family and loved ones. Let us make sure that we don’t neglect what is precious to us simply because we want to have a better life, because what use would be your money if your relationship with your family is already destroyed? Time is something we can never take back, so let us spend it wisely.

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