#2,193 Christmas Eve (The Hammers).

Remember this summer, that day Ben gave me my 30th birthday book and then we spent the day doing things from my childhood? That day we helped my daddy and brother clean up my grandfather’s old shop. Ben found 4 of Pappaw’s rusty old hammers all with broken handles that my dad was throwing away. Ben asked if he could have them and that day he came home and told me his plans for them. Pappaw had 2 sons and 2 grandsons. Daddy, uncle Danny, Clark and Jim.

Over the last couple months he’s taken his time, doing an electrolysis bath on the iron hammer heads to remove all the rust, then he stripped down new hickory handles. He got my mama to find an old document my grandfather signed, and had me, his trusty graphic designer, scan and create a rubber stamp using his signature that reads “From the shop of James Rasberry”. He painted each handle with red and white enamel, stamped them with Pappaw’s signature, then gave them each a good coat of varnish.

When he showed me the first finished handle and I saw Pappaw’s signature, I felt my throat tighten, the way you do before you cry. If his signature exists here, then part of him is still here, too. His DNA is my DNA, and I felt connected to him again in a way I haven’t felt since I hugged his neck for the last time in 2001 before Lou Gherig’s disease took him from us. Holding the hammer, it felt like he’d never left for just a moment.


My heart swelled with love for my husband who is so deeply thoughtful and intent on loving the people in his life so well. So extravagantly. He finished attaching the old, restored iron heads this afternoon and we wrapped them just before walking out the door to the Christmas Eve candlelight service at church.

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We gave Jim and uncle Danny their hammers before we went to my parents and it was so special, the way their reactions varied. Jim was excited, and uncle Danny went from laughing and jovial to suddenly very quiet. He didn’t talk, as he turned it over in his hands examining his daddy’s signature from so many years ago. Then he said, with his voice gruff with tears, “Thank you, Ben. Thank you.” And he held out his hand for a handshake. We went to mama’s for a Christmas Eve dinner with just my parents since Mammaw declared she would be staying at home tonight, at her nursing center. Because she wanted to be there, out of the stormy weather. We had a long visit this afternoon and I gave her her Christmas Whitman’s sampler, just like always. Have I told y’all how thankful we are for her new “home”?

At mama’s house, there was dressing and ham and my macaroni and cheese.

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And when Clark arrived, Ben gave them their gifts.
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And the response was so similar to Jim and uncle Danny’s. Fascinated was Clark’s response. Quiet was daddy’s. Mama was emotional, like me.

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And then, to break the quiet, daddy told us, “You know, daddy had me swinging this hammer all summer long back then. It might as well be mine!” Later, he posted this on facebook, which says everything:

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I cannot stress it enough to you single girls who may be reading my blog: marry the man your father loves. He’s the one. Your dad knows.
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I hope you all are having a merry Christmas, wherever you are. Even in the stormy hot weather, it’s easier to feel Christmas on nights like this.




Thursday, December 24th, 2015

Daily Journal

18 thoughts on “#2,193 Christmas Eve (The Hammers).

  1. Wow! What an amazingly thoughtful man! This made me weepy. You are both so blessed and I love visiting you daily. Merry Christmas!

  2. I have been reading your blog for over a year but this is my first time commenting. I work nights as an RN in labor and delivery. Your late night posts are something I look forward to reading on my break. Loved the picture of your grandfather. He actually got me wondering if he was Choctaw like my grandfather. We are from southeastern Oklahoma where the trail of tears brought the Choctaw people after being removed from Mississippi. Sorry for the randomness of this comment. Thanks again for sharing your day with us. Happy Christmas from this tired nurse.

    • Rachel, Merry Christmas and thanks for reading my daughter’s blog. Erin’s dad says there is definitely some Native American blood in his paternal (and maternal) family tree. Papaw James’ mother appeared to be at least half Native American. Not sure which tribe. No real proof on the paternal side, but facial structure doesn’t lie. Erin’s great, great, great, great, great grandfather (on her Mamaw’s side) was Chief “Far Off” Warrior of the Creek Indian nation. So, the fair-haired, green-eyed Erin has some pretty diverse DNA in her genetics.

  3. Such a beautiful and thoughtful gift. My goodness what great imaginations you guys have to even think of something like this!

    And amen to finding a man your dad loves! My dad has found a true son in Stephen, which makes me love Stephen all the more.

  4. Those hammers took my breath away. We just lost my grandfather, the patriarch of our big family, so it definitely hits home just how special a gift like that would be. I remember when he taught us to drive nails when we were little, mostly, I think, to keep us busy. What a special gift.

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