“Grandma, why are we here? This old house is boarded up!”
“I’m not visiting the house, Charlie. There’s something I want to show you in the back.”
“Did you used to live here, Grandma?”
“No. My friend, Johnny, did.”
“Someone I knew. He died in WWII.”
She let her head fall and with it the years.
“He was my sunshine. I called him that. No matter how bad I felt, he’d make me laugh.”
He darts her a glance and takes her hand.
She inhales deeply, “He was my first love.”
Now behind the house, Charlie pauses to look around.
“Grandma, there’s nothing here.”
“I’ll show you. Let’s walk to that big oak tree over there.”
“Okay, now what?”
“Do you see a heart engraved on it?”
Charlie walks around the tree and shakes his head. “Are you sure this is the tree?”
Charlie stares at the trunk and runs his hands over the rough bark, then looks up and spots something. Stepping back, he reads, “JS + MT — is this what you were talking about?”
“Yes. I told you this was the tree. Now I want you to dig right here, below the heart.” She points with her cane.
Charlie grabs a thick stick and begins digging. After a few minutes he hits metal. He turns to Grandma.
“Pull it out, Charlie. It holds something I need to give to you.”
A few tugs and Charlie hands her a tin box.
“Can you open it for me please?”
He works on the lid until it pops open. Inside there’s a folded paper and a ring. The message reads, Yesterday, today, and tomorrow — through all eternity. Charlie looks back at Grandma. She appears lost in thought.
“The ring, Grandma, what about this ring?”
She looks up and smiles, “It was my engagement ring. We made our promises at this tree. Soon you will be making yours, and I want you to have my ring. It will bring you laughter, you’ll see what I mean. And when it does, you’ll think of me.”