|12/17/2012 1:00:00 AM|
Bubba captures spirit of the season
"This here's the North Pole calling person to person for a Mister Tim Timmons."
I sighed. How in the world Bubba Castiron can possibly know the worst time to call is beyond me. But it's a talent he's blessed with.
"How you doing, Bubba?"
"I knew the North Pole thing would give me away. I'm good Timmons. Just wanted to call and wish you a Merry Christmas."
Had to admit I was a bit surprised. Bubba never struck me as the Christmasy sort. He's a self-described redneck in a blue collar. He can most often be found hanging out at the Crawl-On-Inn. It's a hole in the wall out between Boxley, Omega, Elwood and Tipton. Actually, calling it a hole in the wall might be unfair . . . to holes in the wall. I met Bubba a year or so ago and he just sort of pops up every now and then. At the times I seem to be busiest.
"Listen, Bubba. I'd love to sit here and chat but-"
"Aw Timmons, I'm calling with some real news for you. Theys called off Christmas this year in Carmel."
"Yeah, apparently they passed some ordinance that won't allow the reindeer to fly overhead just in case they have to, you know, go." Then Bubba howled with laughter.
"Hey Timmons, know the best one me and Tater pulled?"
"One year we put a bunch of deer heads and stuffed game and shotguns in the room with the Christmas tree and then when Santa showed up we ran outside and yelled, 'look, it's a deer with a red nose!' and then we shot the gun off in the air! I thought Santa was going to have a heart attack."
Bubba was laughing so hard he snorted.
"OK, OK, Bubba," I said. "Merry Christmas to you, too. Now, if-"
"C'mon Timmons, it's Christmas-time man. Lighten up. I really am just calling to wish you a Merry Christmas."
The sincerity in his voice was clear. I felt bad, so I leaned back and Bubba and I talked for a few minutes. We shared some holiday memories and suddenly that to-do list on my desk wasn't quite as important.
"Bubba, let me ask you. When did you find out about Santa?"
"Santa. When did you find out he wasn't real?"
Suddenly Bubba was the one getting short. "Timmons, what's the matter with you? I expect that sort of crap from others but I thought you were different."
I was shocked. Bubba still believed.
"Bubba, I'm truly sorry. I didn't mean anything by that."
"Aw it's OK. I mean I get what you're saying. I know there's a lot of people who don't believe. But Timmons, let me ask you something."
"Sure, Bubba. What?"
"You was telling me about how your mom and dad and grandparents are all gone and how your daughters are all growed up and how Christmases aren't quite the same as they used to be. But when you see a little child looking at lights on a Christmas tree, when people give to others who need help more than they do, when a kid sits on Santa's lap for the first time and can't even talk because she's staring at that long, white beard . . . well Timmons, you think about that and tell me there's no Santa Claus."
I stopped, lost in thought. Lost in memories.
"Timmons, you still there? Is there a Santa Claus?"
I didn't answer for the longest time. "Bubba, this is the best present you could've given me. Thank you for calling. And Bubba."
This column is dedicated to Ken Brodnax, a longtime friend and mentor. Without his inspiration, Bubba and Timmons never would've met. Nax wrote a column similar to this a couple of decades ago. Nax passed away almost two years ago and is still missed today.
Article Comment Submission Form