He's going through all the old items stored, looking at them, being reminded of things, and finding other item, imagining what's behind it, why his grandfather kept it.
Like an old newspaper. No historic headline on the front page. So there must be something special somewhere inside.
Or like a picture of a group of people he doesn't recognize. Perhaps friends of his grandparents? People they knew long ago, but lost touch with? But still never forgot?
Or like a claim check from a jewelry store ...
Then an idea hits him. This is a claim check. Not a receipt.
Surely, they don't have the watch. The claim check is dated 1947. That's what, sixty years?
So he puts the claim check in his pocket, determined to follow up.
The next day, he heads to the jewelry store. It's still there. Been a fixture downtown for as long as he could remember.
He opens the door, and walks in while the little bell overhead jingles.
It's slightly dark. Oh, lighted, to be sure. But old florescent lamps that have lost some of their brightness.
There's an old man at the counter. Looking at the pictures on the wall, he recognizes him as the person who opened the store ... perhaps just after the second world war.
There's the same face, but younger, in an Army uniform.
There's the same young man, in a suit this time, with a lovely bride.
There's the couple in front of a store. Old, large, dark cars, obviously from the '40s, parked in the background.
There's a picture from inside the store, showing ...
"Yes, sir? May I help you?" the old man asks, jarring the younger man back to the present.
The younger man stutters a second, fumbles in his pocket, and pulls out the 60-year-old claim ticket. He hands it over to the old man.
The jeweler takes the ticket, adjusts his glasses, and looks intently at the ticket for about 10 seconds.
He looks up, meeting the young man's eyes, nods slightly, muttering "Just a second."
The old jeweler shuffles slowly to the back, claim check in hand.
After what seems like minutes, the old man returns, slowing walking back to the counter, paper in hand.
He looks up at the younger man, handing the paper back. "It'll be ready Tuesday."
That sort of happened to me.
I took a watch to a jewelry store in the mall. It's not an old watch, maybe 10 years old, but a good watch. One I liked. Worth over $100, but less than $200. A new version of the same watch still falls in that price range.
So, I thought it might be worth having it repaired.
That was in late March.
The jeweler said he'd have it in about 2 or 3 weeks, but would call me when he had it ready. He took my cell phone number.
Well, I put it out of my mind. A week or so ago, I noticed the claim check in my wallet. The Wife had a half-day at work the next day, and said she'd run by the mall and check on the watch. The notice "Not responsible for items left over 60 days" was sort of the impetus for that.
So, she went by.
And, sort of like in the joke, the old man went to the back, shuffled around, came back saying he had all the parts in, but hadn't finished it. He'd have it ready Tuesday.
Well, Tuesday came and went. And yesterday, Friday, after work, we went by the mall.
Still not ready.
But he'd have it ready Wednesday.
I hope he's right this time.
The joke is getting really old.