The icky smell of old, thawing food filled the kitchen.
She was finally able to pull the strange object from the packed freezer. But when she saw what was inside, she gasped and jumped back. Why on earth was something like this in there?!
Melody Harris was thankful she had a large, loving family.
Huge holiday dinners and warm birthday wishes were a normal part of her life, especially with her grandparents. So, when they lost Ganny K from cancer, it was a hard hit for everyone. And only a year later, they got another piece of tragic news.
Grandpa Norm was once an active man, especially for someone in his 80s.
But when he lost his wife, the life seemed to drain from him. There were no more morning jogs or swimming aerobics. He just seemed to wither away. Melody collapsed to the floor and bawled as she learned a heart attack had finally taken him.
The church had been packed to the brim with people wanting to pay their respects – a testament to how wonder the old man was.
But their condolences didn’t warm her heart like she had hoped, or her mother’s – she had lost a father after all. It wasn’t until the reading of his last will and testament did something finally break her out of her painful mourning.
Causing Some Tension
Grandpa Norm had been generous with so many people.
But when her turn came around, and the lawyer read what her grandfather had bequeathed, she nearly fell out of her seat. He had given her his house! The generous gift also came with dirty side glances from some of her cousins.
Time To Clean Up
A couple days later, Melody and her mother walked into the quiet house.
It felt so different without him there. It also came with another wave of sadness when they had to pack up his things – either to keep, give to family members, or donate. Fresh, blistering tears formed as she spotted a picture of them when they had gone to Disneyland. Little did she know, there was a shocking secret waiting only a few feet away.
So Much Food
The kitchen was well kept, but the fridge was packed to the brim with whatever food or container you could imagine. Grandpa Norm was always one to be thrifty, but this was shocking.
Even the freezer was stuffed with wrapped steaks, frozen veggies, and many half-opened boxes. On top of that, the ice had taken over every free nook or cranny – making everything one, large frozen block. Then, Melody spotted something odd.
“What’s this?” she asked her mom, poking at the grey plastic that was sealed under packing tape.
It looked different than any other package in there, so she tried to tug it out. But the plastic brick wouldn’t budge. She now had to wait for the ice to melt.
As she mopped the floor, she kept an eye on the open freezer – her mind churning with curiosity.
Maybe it was a special kind of meat? Grandpa Norm had spoken often about wanting to go to Japan to try Kobe beef. Melody found herself salivating at the thought. What a wonderful tribute meal it would make. When she could finally pull out the grey brick, she was nearly drooling. What was inside?!
She ripped back the plastic and saw a blotch of red.
But it wasn’t meat. Melody gasped and took a step back from the package. Her mother rushed over and then shakily took a seat when she also saw the truth. It was money … and a lot of it. Melody slumped into a nearby chair, her hands gripping the enormous stack of bills.
A Small Fortune
Each one was a twenty-dollar bill.
Melody and her mother counted them one by one until the grand total came to a staggering $15,000! Grandpa K must have not trusted the banks enough to put his savings there. But did he even remember he had it when he had decided to give her the house? There was also another troubling matter.
Legal To Keep?
Large sums of money usually drew the authorities. Things like tax fraud or evasion would draw groups like the FBI – that is if they declared it.
After some internet sleuthing, and a few careful phone calls, Melody had an important decision to make. While it seemed that keeping the cash would be okay, there was another group that wouldn’t smile kindly on the financial hording.
If her cousins found out she had got a house AND a wad of cash, she would never hear the end of it.
She sat in her grandfather’s favorite chair, trying to decide how to handle the shocking revelation. But in the end, there was one thing that sealed the deal.
Being Like Her Grandparents
Her grandparents had been generous people – so she should be as well.
In the end, Melody decided to divide the money among her and her 7 cousins. When she called them to have a family dinner, she hoped the gesture would soothe whatever anger they still felt. When the time came, and she explained what had happened, she braced for their reaction.
Their eyes turned wide with surprise. A couple cousins tried to bicker that Melody should sell the house and divide that money as well, but most of them were thankful for her honesty and that she had thought of them.
It might not have been a perfect ending, but it was something she knew her grandparents would be proud of her doing. And she was going to use a bit of the money to try some Kobe beef on behalf of Grandpa Norm.