Gerald hated his job. His boss gave him another warning.
Traffic on the freeway going home was worse than ever. His wife asked why he refused to pick up groceries. Another weekend would be wasted with that septic tank problem. The house stank.
Saturday morning the backhoe arrived at the house. The operator, Gerald quickly concluded, was stupid and incompetent.
The backhoe chewed up the back lawn and piled it on the tile patio. The hole grew deeper as Gerald watched. That’s five thousand dollars of my hard-earned money, he thought with mounting anger. Because of a tank clogged with shit.
“Watch what you’re doing! There’s an irrigation line that runs this way. If you cut into any of my pipes, you’re going to pay for it,” he threatened the backhoe operator.
The idiot, Gerald thought to himself. This jerk couldn’t care less about my home.
Gerald had lived in that same house his entire life. He had inherited it from his parents. And now it would stink until the end of time.
With a rage that grew and grew, he watched as his green lawn turned into a pit.
There was a soft metallic sound. The backhoe operator switched off the engine.
What the hell now? Gerald wondered.
The operator stepped down and descended carefully into the hole to determine what he had struck. He carried out something and handed it to Gerald. “It looks like some kind of box.”
“Give me that!” demanded Gerald, seizing the thing, wondering if the mysteriously buried box contained anything of value.
The box was very light and the size of a cookie tin. It was completely wrapped in black electrical tape. His annoyance turned to sudden greed.
He took the box to the patio table and sat down, brushed off a crust of dirt and turned the thing over and over with anticipation. He found one side that seemed to have a lid. He pulled out his pocket knife to cut the black tape around it.
It was indeed a cookie tin, and inside were several objects. He pulled out a folded sheet of paper. Written by the hand of a child were the words:
I put these in a time capsule in case I need them in the future.
Inside the cookie tin were a few wrapped candies, a plastic dinosaur, an old ticket stub to a baseball game, an airplane made of glued Popsicle sticks, and a smiling face drawn on construction paper.
At the bottom of the tin lay a second sheet of paper. Written in Gerald’s own hand were the words:
Poem to Myself
I buried these things underground,
a place where memories are found,
hoping this heart of mine
will not forget to shine and shine.
Here’s a treasure box to my
future self there in the sky.