Five years later – almost to the day I lost the watch – I was in Vienna, Austria. At the time I was going to Wake Forest for graduate school and also working there. As part of my work-study program I was doing research in Vienna.
While I was over there I thought about how my grandfather had been in the European and Pacific theatre during World War II and how he had fought in the Battle of the Bulge. And there I was working and studying in the most enjoyable and peaceful and self-edifying way possible...
One day I got an email forwarded to me from the Wake Forest Alumni Association. The forwarded email said, “I have a watch that I think belongs to the father or grandfather of a Wake Forest student. It’s an older watch with an inscription on the back. I’d like to return it if they can describe what it looks like and what it says.”
I just start sobbing. “Holy cow this is God giving me a second chance. This is redemption and forgiveness.” I thought to myself.
“Look I’m out of the country.” I wrote back. “But here is what it says on the front and back. Please hold it – I will be back in ten days.”
The Wake Forest Alumni Association put me in touch with the man and when he read my email he said, “Yeah okay. Here is my address – come get it.”
The man was a couple years older, but not much. I bought him a huge box of Austrian chocolates as thanks.
“Oh man I’m so glad you have this watch for me.” I said to him on his porch.
“You remember how you lost it?”
“At Ziggy’s bar in Winston Salem.”
“Yeah that’s right.” He said. “That was a pretty good throw you put on that guy.”
“It’s regrettable that it occurred but it did occur.”
Afterwards we went into his house to get the watch. He told me that he had picked the watch up that night, threw it in his wife’s jewelry box and never thought about it again. The pins were still broken – he’d never bothered fixing them and never wore it once. Five years later they were moving into a new house. As his wife was sifting through the boxes, she pulled the watch out and said that it might be important to someone and suggested he at least try to find the owner. He Googled my name and it came up in the Wake Forest alumni record.
I felt like the whole thing was karma, like my grandfather was looking down and saying, “you messed up getting into that fight, but I’ll give you a pass on this one.”
There are times the price for an error is really high. But there are other times life is beautiful and you get back some good things by being a good man. I’m not a perfect man, I’m not a flawless man, but I am generally a man with the right intentions and a good heart.
And through it all I know my grandpa is watching over me and loving me. He’s always with me, but particularly when I am wearing the watch.
Follow me on these social media sites:
- Facebook – Goose Chronicles
- Twitter – @goosechronicle
- Instagram – goosechronicles
- Tumblr – Goose Chronicl