Thanks for your time
from the Verse-A-Week Club

Eccl 3:12
I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and
do good while they live.

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.

"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

"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,

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

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

"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!"

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by
the moments that take our breath away,"

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