It was an old clock, but it still told the correct time. The face had a faded picture of Andy's parents taken when they were newlyweds. Aside from some photos, the clock was the only memento Andy had of his mom and dad.
His father died of cancer in 1964. Then his mom moved to a private nursing home. She had many friends there. The nursing home, however, went bankrupt. They moved her into a state nursing home. She hated it there.
She asked Andy to help her move into a private nursing home again. She had spent most of her husband's savings on living expenses at the first nursing home. Andy said he would try.
But Andy had no savings. He was a sergeant in the Army, and all his money went to his wife and three kids. He called his older brother Frank, who was single and had a great job. Frank was an avid deep-sea fisherman and was interested in buying a large boat for weekend use.
"Frank, I don't have the money now, but you do," Andy pleaded. "Just pay for Mom and I'll owe you for half of the nursing home costs."
"You'll owe me? You don't have two nickels to rub together, and probably never will. I'll get stuck for the whole bill. What about my boat?"
"Never mind. Let me think about it, and I'll get back to you."
Frank never did send his mom the money to move into a private nursing home. Alone and unhappy, she died in the state nursing home only a year later. Andy never forgave his brother.
Many years went by. Frank's health declined. He called up Andy one day. "Andy, I feel really bad about not helping out Mom. I was too interested in getting that boat. The older I've gotten, the more guilt I feel. My days are numbered, Andy. I was wondering if you would send me that clock, just for a little while. I want to beg Mom to forgive me."
Andy was very reluctant to part with his clock, but he did feel a little sorry for Frank.
Frank died ten months later. One of Frank's nieces, Flo, was the executor of his estate. Flo had hired a lawyer to help her Uncle Frank rewrite his will in his dying days. Strangely enough, Flo got everything.
She made sure Uncle Frank was buried a day after his death. No announcement was made about his funeral, which Flo kept private—at the 20-minute service, Flo was the only mourner. Flo sold Uncle Frank's house, car, and boat within the week. Everything of lesser value went to a charity. His cash and stocks, of course, were already safely in her name.
When Andy discovered that his brother had died, he called Flo to ask about his clock. "Oh," she said, "that went to charity with everything else. You didn't really want that old thing, did you, Uncle Andy? Uncle Andy? Hello?" Well, that was rude, she thought.