I heard ‘em coming a mile away. John Hammer, who is the size of a tank but can be as quiet as a mouse, and usually scares the bejeebers out of me. This time, though, his cousin (might be by marriage) Bubba Castiron was with him and if there’s ever a time Bubba has his mouth closed I’ve yet to see it.
“I’m telling you John, you can’t fake those kinds of wrestling moves! Them wrasslers are for real, man! They are the best athletes in the world . . .”
Yup, that Bubba sure can talk. He’s also about 37 cards shy of a full deck.
“Merry Christmas, gentlemen,” I said when they got to my door. “What brings you guys out this fine Christmas Eve morning?”
The behemoth of a man handed over a brightly wrapped box.
“The missus said she heard you liked these – and that your diet wasn’t going so good anymore.”
The memory of Mrs. Hammer’s treats from a year ago made my mouth start watering. Besides, is there any Christmas present better than things made by hand?
“John, I truly appreciate it. And I hope-”
“Yeah, yeah, Merry Christmas, Silent Night and Holy Three Wise Hens,” Bubba interrupted. “We gots something important to discuss, Timmons!”
“Three wise HENS, Bubba?”
“You said three wise hens,” I said. “It’s men. Three wise men.”
“Oh don’t be stupid, Timmons,” he cackled. “Why would someone write a song about wise men? The fact that it was hens is what made it special.”
I didn’t even bother.
“What’s on your mind, gentlemen?”
Hammer was looking pretty uneasy, I noticed.
“Well, sir,” Bubba began, “Ever since you started writing ‘bout us we’ve enjoyed being what you might call local celebrities.”
“Can’t say I enjoyed it,” Hammer mumbled.
“Anyways,” Bubba snapped, “we just came by to say thanks for that and most of all to ask if you would tell all your readers something for us.”
A joint message from Bubba and Hammer? I wasn’t sure if the world was ready for that.
“See, we got to thinking,” Bubba said, puffing out his chest and looking for all the world like he was gearing up to deliver the State of the Union. Fortunately, he never got the chance. Hammer reached over and put a big old paw across the clown’s chest.
“Timmons, there’s a lot of fighting in the world,” Hammer began. “Some of it’s unavoidable, some’s not. But it looks like we got a lot of fighting right here in our back yard. Folks are for wind farms. Folks are against. Folks are against zoning. Folks are for. Folks are for growth. Others want things to stay the same.
“Hell, they’re all fine folks. But somehow it’s turned ugly. It’s turned neighbor against neighbor. It’s created name calling and foul accusations. The thing is, Timmons, where’s it end?”
I didn’t have an answer.
“Seems like it’s the same thing with Trump and his enemies. Used to be that if we disagreed after the counting at the ballot box, then you kept your piece and waited for the next election. Fighting non-stop isn’t the American way. Hell, we might as well not have elections. We’re supposed to respect the process. We don’t. We don’t respect our political opponents. We don’t even treat them like political opponents, we treat them like enemies.”
“John, I can’t say I disagree. But what is it you guys are saying?”
“We just want to say that no matter which side you’re on, don’t forget that the people on the other side aren’t that much different than you – they just believe different. We all live in the same place and just because we want different things doesn’t mean we have to fight. Let’s remember that and disagree without all the hate.”
Hammer turned and headed away. Bubba started to talk but the big man reached out and grabbed the back of his collar. Bubba may be dumb, but he’s not stupid. He shut up and hurried along.
“Merry Christmas, guys!” I yelled. “And thanks for the message. I hope we’re listening.”
Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Tuesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at ttimmons@thepaper24-7.com.