Colleen frowned at her brother Tom, then sighed. “I still think you should just ask her for it instead of trying to steal it. I can’t see how you can help but get caught. Is that clock really worth so much to you that you’d stoop to theft?”
“It’s the principle of the thing, Sis. Auntie just claimed all Grandpa & Grandma’s stuff and took it home with her, just because she lives close. And she’s going to hoard it until the day she dies. All the stuff they wanted to give us will be passed on to her children.
“You can’t really call this theft exactly; it’s more like restoring our inheritance. I know Grandpa wanted to give me that clock; he told me several times. One time when I went there he was chiseling my name on the back, so everyone would know. And I’m sure Auntie’s not blind. So she’s just keeping it. Period.”
Coleen shook her head sadly, remembering the Lone Star quilt Grandma promised her that she wasn’t going to get, either. But she wasn’t going to go steal it. “And when she sees it’s missing? If I’m there right at that time, how can I help but be implicated?”
“She won’t even know it’s gone. You know how cluttered Auntie’s house is. You could lose a Saint Bernard in there.”
Tim ran his hand through his hair and outlined his plan again. “I’ll be driving the company truck. You know the old lane to the pasture, not far from Auntie’s place. There’s a that clump of chokecherry bushes; I’ll park behind those and take the path through the woods. When you see my truck sitting there, you just go ring her doorbell and chat her up. Ask her about her garden. You’ll be with her the whole time, so she’ll know you didn’t take it.
“If she sees my truck and guesses I was around, I’ll say I was tending to an emergency nearby. She has no right to have that clock. It’s mine and I want it.”
The next afternoon Colleen drove out to Auntie’s house at the designated time but her nerves felt like a swarm of grasshoppers and she felt a tension headache coming on. She saw the Apex Roofing truck as she passed; it was well-hidden from the road.
Slowly she turned into Auntie’s driveway, but she made up her mind as she came to a stop that she’d ask Auntie for Grandpa’s clock on Tom’s behalf, even if doing so would implicate her in its disappearance. She couldn’t bear to see her brother become a thief over such a trifle, though it was an heirloom.
She walked up to Auntie’s door, dread in every step, a prayer in every breath. She shouldn’t be doing this. How did she ever get roped into it? But she had to protect her rash brother somehow. Surely God could work something out for them.
She rang the bell and Auntie came to the door right away. “Colleen! How nice you came. I was just about to have a drink.”
“I… I was driving by and thought I’d stop for a minute,” Colleen began. “I know we haven’t been together since Grandpa’s funeral and I was thinking it’s high time.” The word “time” reminded her of the clock and she winced.
“Well, I’m so glad you’ve come!” Auntie gushed. “Come join me for an iced tea. Yes, when the folks died I was so overwhelmed with it all, all the arrangements, being executrix… Then I had to have the house cleaned out within two weeks.
“Yes, it was sold privately, you know, and the new folks wanted possession right away, so I just gathered up all Mom & Dad”s stuff and brought it here. I’ve finally gotten up courage to sort through it. I was so happy when I found a list your Grandma made; she’d rolled it up in an old slip in her undies drawer.” Auntie rolled her eyes. “Easy place to find it, right? It’s a list of things they wanted each of the grandchildren to have, and I see you should be getting that Lone Star quilt she made years back. Now I can give it to you.”
“And the clock Grandpa carved…?”
“O, that has your brother’s name on it. Dad said several times that it would be Tim’s someday, so I’m planning to give it to him next time I see him.”
“Wow, Auntie, That’s super. You know, he came along with me today, sort of, but he wanted to…was going to…wander through the woods a bit. But I’ll give him a shout. He’ll be so happy to know he’s getting Grandpa’s clock. Maybe you could pour us both a glass of iced tea while I go find him.”
Colleen hurried outside and headed down the path to the woods. But before she called Tom’s name, she looked up to heaven and waved. “Thank you, God!”