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The guy next door

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.
His funeral is on 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 had 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
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...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 home town. 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 door way, 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 things 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, 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 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 filled 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 the timeyou spent with me! Harold Belser."

"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 to spend some time with my son and my daughter." 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."

Have a great day and thank you for your time..

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