The Ultimate Gift (The Ultimate Series #1)

BOOK: The Ultimate Gift (The Ultimate Series #1)
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Table of Contents
 
 
 
Look into the depths
OF ANOTHER’S SOUL
AND LISTEN,
not only with our ears,
BUT WITH OUR HEARTS
AND IMAGINATION,
and our silent love.
 
JOYE KANELAKOS
THE ULTIMATE GIFT
Published by David C. Cook
4050 Lee Vance View
Colorado Springs, CO 80918 U.S.A.
 
David C. Cook Distribution Canada
55 Woodslee Avenue, Paris, Ontario, Canada N3L 3E5
 
David C. Cook U.K., Kingsway Communications
Eastbourne, East Sussex BN23 6NT, England
 
David C. Cook and the graphic circle C logo
are registered trademarks of Cook Communications Ministries.
 
All rights reserved. Except for brief excerpts for review purposes,
no part of this book may be reproduced or used in any form
without written permission from the publisher.
 
The Web site addresses recommended throughout this book are offered as
a resource to you. These Web sites are not intended in any way to be or imply
an endorsement on the part of David C. Cook, nor do we vouch for their content.
 
The characters and events in this book are fictional, and any
resemblance to actual persons or events is coincidental.
 
LCCN 2007931562
ISBN 978-0-7814-4563-4
 
© 2001 Jim Stovall
 
Illustrations by Elise Peterson
 
Printed in the United States of America
First Paperback Edition 2007
 
3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
INTRODUCTION
You and I are preparing to take a journey together within the pages of this book that you hold in your hands. I want to thank you for the investment you have made and will be making in our journey.
 
I believe that when you read the last page of
The Ultimate Gift
, you will be a different person than you are at this moment. At that point, our journey together will have ended, but your journey into the fullness of your destiny will be just beginning.
 
Like any other journey or trip you have ever taken, it becomes more meaningful based upon the special people in your life who share this trip with you. I am sure you can remember wonderful trips or vacations that you have been on in the past. As those pleasant memories of your travels come back to you, they are filled not only with your destination, but the special people and loved ones who shared the journey with you.
 
When you have concluded reading
The Ultimate Gift
and have begun in earnest your life’s journey, my fervent hope is that you will share
The Ultimate Gift
with friends, family, and the special people in your world who make your life’s journey priceless.
 
Thank you for sharing this part of my life’s journey and for allowing me and the
The Ultimate Gift
to travel with you on part of your life’s journey.
 
Respectfully,
 
Jim Stovall
 
ONE
 
IN THE BEGINNING
 
A journey may be long or short,
but it must start at the very spot
one finds oneself.
It was in my fifty-third year of practicing law, and my eightieth year of life here on this earth, that I was to undertake an odyssey that would change my life forever.
I was seated behind my mahogany monstrosity of a desk in my top-floor, corner office of an imposing building in the most prominent section of Boston. In the marble foyer, the antique brass plate on the outer door reads Hamilton, Hamilton, & Hamilton. Of the aforementioned, I am the first Hamilton—Theodore J. Hamilton, to be accurate. My son and grandson account for the remainder of the Hamiltons in the firm.
I would not say that we are the most prestigious law firm in all of Boston, because that would not be totally circumspect. However, if someone else were to say that, I would not go out of my way to disagree.
As I was simply drinking in the ambiance in my antiquated but palatial office, I was thinking how far I had come since the lean days in law school. I enjoyed gazing upon my wall of fame, which includes photographs taken of me with the last five presidents of the United States, among other significant persons.
I glanced at the familiar sight of floor-to-ceiling shelves of leather-bound books, the massive oriental rug, and the classic leather furniture, all of which predate me. My enjoyment in simply experiencing the familiar environment was interrupted when the telephone on my desk buzzed. I heard the reliable and familiar voice of Margaret Hastings. “Sir,” she said, “may I step in and have a word with you?”
As we had been working together for more than forty years, I knew that tone was reserved for the most serious and somber of circumstances.
“Come in, please,” I replied immediately.
Miss Hastings entered promptly, securing the door behind her, and sat across the desk from me. She had not brought her calendar, her correspondence, or documents of any type. I was trying to remember the last time Margaret had entered my inner sanctum without some baggage, when she said without preamble or delay, “Mr. Hamilton, Red Stevens just died.”
When you get to be an octogenarian, you grow as accustomed as one can to losing friends and family. But some of the losses hit you harder than others. This one shook me to my core. Amid all of the emotions and memories that flooded over me, I realized that I would have to do what Red would expect of me, which was simply to do my job.
I shifted into my lawyer mode and told Miss Hastings, “We will need to contact all of the family members, the various corporate boards and business interests, and be ready to control the media circus that will begin any minute.”
Miss Hastings stood up and said, “I’ll handle everything.” She quickly walked to the door and then hesitated a moment. After an uncomfortable pause, during which I realized Margaret Hastings and I were crossing that line that divides professional and personal, she said quietly, “Mr. Hamilton, I am sorry for your loss.”
Miss Hastings closed the door and left me alone with my thoughts.
 
Two weeks later, I found myself at the head of our massive conference table with all of Red Stevens’ various relatives gathered around. The feeling of anticipation—bordering on greed—was almost a physical presence in the room.
Knowing Red’s feelings toward the majority of his relatives, I knew he would want me to prolong their misery as long as possible. Therefore, I had Margaret offer everyone coffee, tea, or soft drinks along with anything else she could think of. I scanned and rescanned the voluminous documents before me and cleared my throat multiple times. Finally, realizing that I was stretching the bounds of propriety, I rose to my feet and addressed the motley assemblage.
“Ladies and gentlemen, as you know, we are here to read the last will and testament of Howard ‘Red’ Stevens. I realize that this is a difficult time for all of us and that our personal losses individually far outweigh any legal or financial concerns we might have this morning.”
I knew that wherever he was, Red would enjoy the irony.
“I will dispense with the preliminaries, the boilerplate, and the legalese, and will go directly to the issues at hand. Red Stevens was a very successful man in every sense of that word. His bequests are much as Red was himself—very simple and straightforward.
BOOK: The Ultimate Gift (The Ultimate Series #1)
4.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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