|Hammer on patience? You bet!|
"So you're a grandfather now, Timmons?"
The rich, deep bass could only belong to one man. Yet John Hammer did not boom out his greeting as usual and scare me half to death in the process. Perhaps now that he and I are in that special fraternity together he was going to be kinder?
"Thanks for not sneaking up on me and giving me a heart attack, John," I said, feeling a warm connection to the giant of a man.
"I'm not moving too fast," he rumbled. "Think I'm coming down with something."
So much for brotherhood.
"Yes, John, we have three grandsons now. A few months ago we had none. Kind of famine to feast, if you know-"
"So what are you going to teach them, Timmons?" he said, putting a quick end to my rambling.
"Uh, I thought my job was to spoil them. You know, give them cotton candy and soda pop and send them back home with mom and dad!"
Hammer just stared. I've never understood how he and my wife can get the same point across - "hey, shut up idiot" - without ever uttering a sound. It's a talent.
"OK, I don't really feed them cotton candy," I said, muttering under my breath that the fair has been gone for months. (Although I did sneak the littlest one some molasses and brown sugar.)
"I heard Sheriff Casteel talking," the Hammer began. "Said he was waiting for a train and he noticed how a lot of the folks in other cars looked and acted impatient. That got me to thinking. We've lost tolerance for a lot of things that used to not be important."
When Hammer starts going down a path like this, I just keep my mouth shut. And learn.
"People get stopped at a red light, they get ticked," he said. "They come up on a slower car, they get ticked. They have to stand in line at the Post Office, they get ticked. Shoot, I see people jockeying back and forth between lines at the grocery, just trying to hurry up. It almost always takes 'em longer."
He almost smiled.
"You know what you ought to teach your grandsons, Timmons?"
"Tell me, John."
"Patience. Patience and tolerance."
He sat there, letting the words sink in. The irony wasn't an accident.
"Everyone is always in such a rush, so ready for a fight," he said. "Hell Timmons, you've said it before. No one can peacefully disagree anymore. Everything turns into a fight. For the life of me I don't understand why you and I seeing something different is a problem. Do I HAVE to agree with you? Do you HAVE to agree with me? Does the world stop turning if one or both of us doesn't?"
Hammer took a long look at me.
"Timmons, apparently your wife has raised your children right and now your family has grown. It's the way it works. Those new ones need someone to let them know that sure, they can go out and conquer the world. They just don't have to do it all in a day. Teach them that, won't you Timmons?"
Hammer walked away. Thankfully I'm not the only grandparent in this equation, but the message feels like it has value for us all.
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