“What’s not safe? It’s just an old box. What do I do with it?”
Papa Links eyes opened wide and focused directly on the son in front of him and shook his head from side to side.
“Far more,” he said, “and this belongs to you and only you. You’ll find the key is the adjustment bracket on the observatory telescope at Hildene. Get that key and open this case. You will know what to do after you open it.”
Papa Link, smiled down at the man he had raised and loved for so long and left this earth one happy man.
When the doctor took the pulse of his patient, it was only to verify the time of death and to comfort the young man clinging to the shell that once was his father.
The funeral held at The Hildene Estate was grand to say the least. Through the years Papa Link had made many friends, but non so close as those who worked with and for him. Their tribute to him was all sixteen Hildene workers dressed in period attire. The men wore simple black clothes with stove pipe hats and the women wore full bustled dresses. They conducted the eulogy in the beautiful estate garden. The height of the sermon was a reading by Papa Link’s son. He read from a purple covered bible loaned to the estate.
Psalm sixteen ended with “Keep me safe, my God.”
Papa Link had been given the right to be buried on the Hildene estate. He was put to rest next to the grave of his father and mother that had been granted in the will of Robert Todd Lincoln himself.
The former Hildene worker and Manchester lawyer laid flowers on the fresh grave of his father. Later under cover of darkness he went to the observatory and took only ten minutes to find and take off the adjustment bracket. The shape was the most unusual he had ever seen but so was the lock on the box.
He tucked the key in his pocket and strapped the box securely to his scooter. Then he drove to his apartment next to the town tavern and rolled thoughts over and over in his head; what could be so important that it was his father’s last wish? Was it money? It couldn’t be that much, not on Papa Links salary. He was always lending money and not in a hurry to get it back. Maybe it was his unfinished will. So many times he had asked if he could make one up for his father. Just as many times he was told it could wait. Now it was too late. It didn’t matter though, he was a capable lawyer and knew all the documents that were needed to complete anything that could be in the box. He set it down on the folding card table used for his law practice.
“Christmas comes early,” he said to himself and put the key in the box lock and opened it. What he took out was the original deed of ownership to the Hildene Estate. Included in the box were documents giving all properties and holdings to his heir and son Joshua Robert Lincoln. The next paperwork he took out were the original birth certificates of his grandfather, his father and him. They all had the right dates and times of birth. He read them over several times as his legal training made him do with all legal certificates. All the last names ended with Lincoln. The last birth certificate was his and the name on it was Abraham Lincoln III.
“What!” he said out loud, “What?”
He sat there on the edge of his folding chair and wondered why this happened? Why was he raised to believe he was a Jackson? Why was his grandfather, father and him not told they were Lincolns? For every question he had no answer until he looked in the bottom of the box. He found a very old letter in a red wax sealed envelop. The seal bore the initials R.T.L. He broke the seal and read the letter written by Robert Todd Lincoln.
The top of the letter had the date July 26, 1926, and began; If you are reading this letter written in my hand then you are the blood of my blood and the flesh of my flesh.