Clyde was insulted when his grandmother offered to leave him her house if he stayed with her and helped with repairs. He and his parents didn’t talk to her for a year, and when Clyde finally traveled to visit Granny on her birthday, her home was gone.
“Okay, let’s get this over with,” Chris said as he parked in front of his mother’s house. The property was severely neglected, and he didn’t like spending time there.
Chris’s wife, Mandy, and his son, Clyde, leaped from the car and hurried to the front porch. Although the family lived in a different city, they were embarrassed by the dilapidated house and didn’t want to risk anyone recognizing them.
“Hello, my dears.” Chris’s mom, Sharon, opened the door. She spread her arms to embrace her family, but they rushed past her to get inside.
“You need to get a handyman to fix your house, mom,” Chris said.
“I was hoping you and Clyde might help me out with a few repairs while you’re here,” Sharon replied. “Repairs are expensive, and my pension only stretches so far.”
“We’ve barely arrived, and already you’re nagging.” Chris shook his head.
“We drove for hours to visit you for your birthday, not to work on your house.”
Sharon’s face crumpled. Chris thought she might be about to cry, so he herded everyone into the dining room.
“Let’s get this party started,” Chris said.
The family sat down together and enjoyed a meal. Sharon mentioned several small things that needed fixing around the house while they ate, but Chris changed the topic every time. The longer he spent at his mother’s house, the more he remembered why he only visited annually.
When everyone finished eating, Chris saw an opportunity to escape: He volunteered himself and his wife to do the dishes. Mom smiled at him, and Chris hoped doing this one chore might be enough to prevent Mom from complaining for the remainder of their visit.
“Clyde, dear. There’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you.”
Clyde had daydreamed about his latest video game throughout the meal, but he turned when Granny spoke.
“You’ll be applying for college in the next few years. Why don’t you apply to colleges here, in Dallas? You can stay with me for free, and all I ask is that you help out with some repairs.” Granny smiled at him. “You’re my only grandchild, and I’ll gladly leave my home to you if you help me take care of it.”
“Are you mad?” Clyde stared at his grandmother in horror. “Why would I want to stay in this dump? I’m going to be a doctor, why on earth would I need your ruined, old house?”
“I… I suppose you don’t.” Granny lowered her head. “To be honest, all I really wanted was to spend more time with you before I leave this world.”
Chris appeared at the door to the dining room to find out why Clyde was shouting. He was livid when he heard about Granny Sharon’s offer and Clyde’s response.
“How dare you try to foist your neglected house onto Clyde?” Chris shouted.
“That’s your grandson, not some free laborer for you to take advantage of.”
Granny Sharon burst into tears, but Chris just shook his head. He threw down the dishcloth he’d draped over his shoulder and gestured to Clyde.
“Get your things, son,” Chris said. “We’re leaving.”
Clyde hurried to the front door. He paused to take in the peeling paint, creaking floorboards, and warped ceiling boards in Granny’s house. He couldn’t imagine why she’d think he wanted to inherit this dump.
Chris and his little family didn’t speak to Granny Sharon for a year. When the time drew nearer for them to visit her on her birthday, Chris couldn’t bear to go.
“It’s time you took a drive on the open road,” Chris told Clyde. “You’ve been driving a while now, and it will be a good experience to drive to Granny on your own.”
Clyde was so excited at the opportunity to drive so far by himself that he didn’t think twice. He left on Granny’s birthday before dawn and had an uneventful trip until he reached Dallas.
‘Your choice was motivated only by greed. You’ll find what you deserve at the following coordinates…’
Clyde parked on the roadside and double-checked the map on his phone. He’d been a passenger on this trip so often that he hadn’t checked the route beforehand. Clyde had assumed he’d find Granny’s house easily.
Clyde frowned at the map. He’d been correct; this was the right address. He looked out his window again and frowned because a gleaming skyscraper stood in the lot where Granny’s house was supposed to be.
Fear bloomed in Clyde’s chest. What could have happened to Granny? His only clue was the building, so he hopped out and went inside. There was a concierge seated behind a spotless brushed steel desk.
“Excuse me,” Clyde asked. “I’m looking for the old lady who used to live here, Mrs. Bower. I’m her grandson. Do you know what happened to her?”
“Of course, sir. Follow me.” The concierge stepped out from his desk and led Clyde to the elevator.
“You want the penthouse suite. I’ll inform Mrs. Bower that you’re on your way up.”
Clyde was so confused that he wondered if he was dreaming. He rode the elevator up to the penthouse and was astonished to see Granny Sharon waiting for him there.
“Clyde, it’s so good to see you again!” Granny rushed up and hugged him. “I was beginning to think you all had written me off.”
Clyde gaped at the modern fixtures and elegant decor in the penthouse. “Why are you living here, Granny?”
“Oh, the developers were after my house for a long time. I didn’t want to sell, but after your visit last year, they made me a wonderful offer. Instead of buying me out, they gave me the penthouse suite to live in.”
Granny hobbled toward the floor-to-ceiling windows. “I agreed because of the view. Now I get to watch the sun coming up over the city every morning.”
Clyde couldn’t believe how much his Granny’s life had changed. When he returned home, his parents couldn’t believe it either.
“This is a great opportunity for you, Clyde,” Chris said. “Next year, you must go to college in Dallas and stay with your grandmother. Take good care of her, and she’ll surely leave you that penthouse in her will.”
That is what Clyde did. He was accepted at a college in Dallas, and he turned up at Granny’s penthouse the day before the semester started.
“I changed my mind,” he said when Granny met him at the door.
“I decided to come and stay with you while I’m attending college.”
Granny arched her eyebrows and looked at him with disappointment. “Now, I wonder what might’ve changed your mind.”
“I just wanted to spend more time with you.” Clyde entered and set down the backpack containing his clothes. “You don’t mind, do you?”
“Of course not, Clyde. Make yourself at home. I could use your help with running errands for me so I’ll be grateful to have you around.”
As Granny walked ahead to show him the guest room, Clyde could’ve sworn he heard her mutter about greedy people needing to learn a lesson. Since he didn’t know who she was talking about, he ignored it.
Clyde was soon caught up in attending classes and running errands with Granny. He accompanied her to the grocery store every week and carried the shopping inside. She also put him to work cooking meals every Sunday, which they then delivered to several local shelters.
“Why do you spend so much money making food for hobos?” Clyde asked the first time she pressed him into service.
Granny shook her head. “Every person needs to eat, Clyde. Sometimes life deals you a bad hand, and you end up living in a terrible situation. The least I can do for my fellow man is provide one meal.”
Clyde thought about her words. It was strange to him that his grandmother had such a humanitarian perspective when his father, her son, would never lift a finger to help others unless there was something in it for him.
When they dropped off the food at the shelter, Granny insisted that Clyde help her serve it. He was aghast, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer. He thought stinking, unkempt hobos would mob him but soon discovered he was wrong.
The people he served were shy but very appreciative. They thanked Clyde profusely for the meal and blessed him for his kindness. Many were untidy, but Clyde soon realized it wasn’t that bad. At least they realized he was doing them a big favor.
As time went on, Clyde began to change. Seeing how generous Granny was to others made him wonder if she’d nagged them about the old house because she wanted to receive the same kindness from her flesh and blood.
However, Clyde’s budding realization came too late. One day, Clyde entered the sitting room and was surprised to find it empty. Granny rose early every morning to watch the sunrise and was always still sitting there by the time he got up.
Clyde knocked on Granny’s door. When she didn’t answer, he cautiously entered the room. At first, he thought she was sleeping late.
Granny had such a peaceful expression on her face, like she was in the middle of a wonderful dream.
He reached out to nudge her awake. Only then did he accept the situation he’d suspected since he found the sitting room empty: Granny was gone.
“I guess this place is mine now,” Clyde told his father when he called to give him the news.
“Sad circumstances aside, this is great news for you, son. I knew it was a good idea to send you to live with Granny.”
Clyde hung up shortly afterward. He walked around the penthouse and ended up beside Granny’s favorite chair. It was positioned right in front of the windows so she could enjoy the view. One of the scarves she’d been knitting for the people at the shelter still lay draped over the arm.
Clyde ran his fingers over the stitches. The wool was soft beneath his fingers, and when he lifted it to his face, it smelled of Granny’s rose-scented perfume.
A strangely hollow sensation spread through him. He had the penthouse now, just as Granny promised. All the times he’d hauled her groceries inside, and fed hobos at her insistence were about to bear fruit, but it didn’t make him happy.
A few days later, Clyde’s assumptions about inheriting the penthouse were crushed.
“What do you mean the penthouse is going on sale?” Clyde leaped from his seat. “She’s supposed to have left it to me.”
The lawyer shook his head.
“The penthouse will go on sale and proceeds will be divided between five local shelters. Your grandmother requested this clause be included in the contract she signed with the developers.”
Clyde couldn’t believe what he was hearing! Granny had cut him out of her will entirely.
“An addendum was added to this clause at a later date, however,” the lawyer continued. “A portion of the proceeds will be used to your benefit. I cannot tell you more than that right now, however. Instead, your grandmother wished to explain herself.”
The lawyer passed Clyde a handwritten note. He stared at his grandmother’s flowing cursive script in confusion.
‘Clyde, I know you only moved in with me because I was staying in a fancy penthouse. Your choice was motivated only by greed. You’ll find what you deserve at the following coordinates…’
Clyde was confused. He typed the coordinates into the map application on his phone and left immediately. He drove through Dallas until he found the location, and then all he could do was stare at the building outside his window.
This house was as dilapidated as Granny’s old house had been. Immediately, Clyde called his parents to tell them what Granny had done.
“I can’t believe that old bat cheated you out of your inheritance!” Dad shouted over the phone. “How could anyone be so callous and greedy?”
“Granny wasn’t greedy,” Clyde replied. “I was, and so were you.”
He looked at the house and understood how cruel he and his dad had been to Granny over the years. This house was all he deserved after refusing to help fix her old home and taking advantage of her when she lived in the penthouse.
“I’m glad Granny did this,” he told his dad. “She wanted us all to learn a valuable lesson. I only wish it hadn’t taken me so long to realize the importance of looking after your family.”
What can we learn from this story?
Take care of your family. Chris and Clyde were selfish in refusing to help Granny Sharon with repairs to her home. They caused such strife that Sharon didn’t even tell them about moving into the penthouse.
Appreciate the gifts you get in life. The true value of a gift is the intention with which it’s given, not the material value attached to it.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.