Julian had been thinking about the talk he needed to have with his son ever since the conversation he had with his wife on his birthday. He was also thinking that he needed to talk to him about the legacy soon too. He had so much he wanted to say, and not enough time, so he took a different approach. He called Jonathan’s teachers and arranged for him to take a day off. It was going to be a grand day of father and son-ness. Or, at least he hoped it would. Julian figured that in order to achieve the best results he should do it on Jonathan’s turf–not that he had actual turf, but ensure the environment was palatable for him. Jonathan loved the outdoors, so Julian decided they’d spend some time on the underused parts of the property.
They sat and enjoyed the view for a while, but then Julian felt that Jonathan was getting a little nervous. Show time, I guess. “It’s nice out here, right?”
“So,” he cleared his throat, “what’s going on in your life, Jonathan?”
“M-my life? Ummmm…not much?” He was surprised that they were just having a conversation. He was expecting something else.
Julian chuckled. “You don’t sound sure.”
“Is this some weird Jedi mind trick? I thought I was in trouble.”
Julian howled at his son’s confusion. “I wouldn’t take you out of school to punish you.”
Jonathan narrowed his eyes and looked at his father. “So…you’re not mad?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“Look, son, we’re just talking, ok? Just talking. So…what’s going on in your life?”
Jonathan loosened up and breathed a sigh of relief. “Well…nothing, really. I just hang out with my friends…that’s about it.”
“You spend a lot of money on those friends…”
Julian wasn’t expecting such a lackadaisical response from him and figured leading with the heir talk may yield better results. “Jonathan…just because we have tons of money doesn’t mean you can spend it frivolously.”
“But, dad…we have enough money for like three life times! What’s the point in just letting it sit there?”
“Trust me, son, I understand. I’m not saying you shouldn’t spend money, but you should think about it more carefully. Let me tell you about the history of our family…many many years ago, there was a man named Xavier Pruett. He was your great great great great great great grandfather…”
“That’s a looooot of greats!”
“Right? There have been nine generations of Pruetts. You are the ninth generation heir…” Julian paused for a moment to let news sink in. “Xavier bought this land and built a tiny shack on it. It was big enough for a bed and a toilet.”
“That’s all he had?”
“That’s all he had! He did whatever he could to make money because he had a dream. He wanted to lead a legacy of Sims who were responsible, ambitious, respectable, and understood the value of a strong family.” Julian didn’t quiet know if that was true, but it sounded good and helped make his point. Even in his old age, he still felt like everything made sense and came together while cloud gazing, so he lay down and motioned for Jonathan to join him.
“So, he got a job, he collected things around town to sell, he planted a garden of lilies, and he did freelance work. Eventually his little shack started shaping up. He got a shower, then a refrigerator, then a sink, a stove and some counters. Then he built a separate bedroom and got a table and some chairs. Then he built a bathroom, and later an office. He finally got married, and his wife Sandra invested her money into the house and made it a real home. They had two kids: Joy and Donovan. Xavier decided that only the first born sons can be the heir, so Donovan inherited everything when Xavier died. He left him the house, the money, and the garden, and all of that keeps getting passed down generation after generation.”
“But…where is this garden?”
“Oh…well…my uncle Owen destroyed it, so…no flowers for us. But, that helps bring about my point. What you do affects more than just you and this generation. It affects the future generations. So, yeah, we have more money than we know what to do with, but have you noticed, I’ve never had a job? For a long time, my mom didn’t work either. My great great grandfather never had a job. No one who lives here really needs to work. The money exists so you can afford to live the kind of life you and anyone else living here want to live…not to spend on drunken nights with your friends. Now, if you want to live extravagantly, then at least get a job or have some sort of income…unless you want to be known as the heir who ruined the legacy. Do you want to be known as the failure, Jonathan?”
“I didn’t think so. Tell me…do you have any plans yet? What are you going to do with your life?”
“I want to be a famous chef and open restaurants all around the world!”
“Jumping freezer bunnies! That’s awesome, Jonathan! See, even after all these years, we’re still experiencing firsts. You’ll be the first business owner in the family!” It was a bittersweet moment as his pride turned to sorrow when he realized that he may not live long enough to see his son’s dream come to fruition.
“Really? The first?”
“The first! Let’s get up now.” Jonathan hopped up and helped his father to his feet. “You’ll make us proud. I know you will. I just wanted to let you know what you’re involved in from being born into this family. There is a great responsibility on your shoulders, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Just…be mindful of who you are when you do things.”
For a few moments, they stood and looked around the estate in wonderment. Jonathan figured he would own it all, but he didn’t know where it came from. He was glad Julian told him the story. “Dad?”
“If you didn’t work or make money, what did you contribute to the legacy?”
Julian thought about it. When he wasn’t pursuing Rose or Jeannette, he pursued his nerd brain aspiration which led him to give the house much needed upgrades, but that had been done before by Brandon. “Well…I contributed you!”
Jonathan pretended like he thought his father’s response was corny, but on the inside he felt loved and appreciated. He knew he was very important to Julian, and this legacy should be important to him. So, he asked him to tell him the rest of the story, and Julian obliged. He went down the line of all the heirs and their families in the same detail as it was told to him by his aunt long ago. They sat outside and talked until dusk, and Julian got the grand day of father and son-ness he was looking for.