The Thing He valued The Most.
The Forth Rail Bridge From North Queensferry
How easy it is to become so busy. These last few days, after having a fall, that has left me in a lot of pain, I have realised that life and time are so very important.
I should have remembered this anyway. Spent far too much time being busy and in the process losing sight of what was important
Jack was a bit like that. Every time his mother called him he was always in a hurry for something. The pursuit of his dream. The rush to do this and the rush to do that. Time for everybody except those closest to him.
One day he received a call from his mother, she told him, "Mr. Thomas 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, Mum . 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," his mother told him.
"I loved that old house he lived in," Jack said.
"You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Thomas 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,"
As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next train home. Mr. Thomas'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. He was invited in by one of the few remaining relatives.
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 Mother 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 Thomas 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 train to catch tomorrow."
It had been about two weeks since Mr. Thomas died. Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note through his letterbox. "Signature required on a parcel . No one at home. Please collect from the main post office, or arrange a redelivery online," the note read.
Early the next day Jack collected the parcel. 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 Thomas" 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!
"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!"
Todays painting is one of my first attempts at pen and ink. I think I should at some point have another try with this medium.