Tim Timmons | Crawfordsville, IN

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June 13, 2021

Hammer shares Christmas message

He knocked.
I couldn't believe it. John Hammer, the behemoth of a man who actually giggled the last time he snuck in and shocked the daylights out of me, knocked on my door. No heart attack. No stealth.
He knocked.
Made me worry.
Is he sick?
"G'morning John," I said. "Not really used to a knock from you."
The man called the Hammer shuffled in. I've seen him look like this a few times before . . . usually when he was dropping off a Christmas present. John may be quick with an opinion but social skills are not his strong suit.
"The Missus made this for you and your family," he said, handing me a box that smelled like it just came out of the oven. Last year the present was some of the best home-made cookies and bread I ever tasted.
"John, thank you very much," I said. "Your visits, even when they scare the snot out of me, are always a pleasure."
He nodded. Like I said, when Hammer has a point to pound home he has no equal. Small talk? Not so much.
"You guys going anywhere for Christmas?" I asked, knowing that John never ventured far from home.
"No, I expect we'll have the kids and grandkids come by for dinner and we'll go to church together and then watch the young'uns unwrap some presents."
"Sounds nice, John. What church do you guys go to?"
Hammer looked at me for a moment. A long moment. An awkward moment.
"Let me ask you a question, Timmons," he growled. "Do you pray?"
"I do, John. Actually I do a lot more since I became a business owner."
I paused for the chuckle. As it turns out, I could've paused for a long time.
"Do you pray to a God who's Baptist? Or Methodist? Or Catholic? Or Episcopalian? Or . . . "
He let the words linger.
As did his point.
"Maybe it's just me, Timmons. But I think we get too caught up in the who, the when and the where and I think we sort of leave out the what."
At least Hammer was talking my language . . . even if I wasn't following his point.
"I don't pretend to know my Bible all that well," he explained. "And I sure as hell don't pretend to have answers to what folks call eternal questions. But I know what I believe. And I believe that following those 10 Commandments is more important than what pew you sit in on the weekend. I believe that having a word with the man upstairs - especially when you ain't asking for anything - ought to be a pretty common occurrence. And I believe that everything we need to know at Christmas can be found in a cartoon."
"John," I said. "You had me on all of that until you said the last thing about a cartoon. How can you possibly think the Grinch or Rudolph or some Hallmark cartoon fits with what you just said?"
"Timmons, I thought a media guy like you would pick right up on it," he smiled. "Linus walks out of the spotlight and off to the side of the stage. "That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."
Then the man called The Hammer reached out and gave me a big ol' bear hug and left.
"It is indeed, Linus. It is indeed."

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