In fact, in 2015, Erin told readers how her husband, Home Town co-star Ben Napier, gave a beautiful gift to Clark, their father, Phil, and their uncle, Danny.
Ben hammered home a perfect Christmas present for the family.
In a blog post shared on Christmas Day 2015, Erin revealed that Ben had recently found and restored four “rusty old hammers with broken handles” that belonged to her and Clark’s grandfather, whom she called Pappaw. “Pappaw had two sons and two grandsons: Daddy, Uncle Danny, Clark, and [Erin’s cousin] Jim,” she wrote.
Erin then detailed Ben’s painstaking restoration efforts:
“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.”
The hammers were a big hit with Clark and Phil.
When Ben showed Erin the finished products, she got choked up.
“If his signature exists here, then part of him is still here, too,” she wrote in the blog post. “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 Gehrig’s disease took him from us. Holding the hammer, it felt like he’d never left for just a moment.”
Erin and Ben first gifted two of the hammers to Danny and Jim, both of whom were duly moved. And then, at a Christmas Eve dinner with Erin’s parents, the couple presented the other two hammers to Clark and Phil.
“Fascinated was Clark’s response. Quiet was Daddy’s. Mama was emotional, like me,” Erin blogged. “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!’”
Erin and Clark carry on the family’s “Blue Christmas” tradition.
In a 2011 guest post on the Hello Dearie post, Erin described her family’s Christmas traditions, including her father’s ritual of singing the Elvis Presley song “Blue Christmas.”
“When I was a baby, it was he, my grandfather and my uncle Danny singing a never ending loop of the Elvis Christmas classic — just the chorus, really,” she said.
“In the video from 1985, you can hear my mama in the background saying, ‘Do y’all know the other words?’ as my grandfather was struggling to find the harmony tenor part, while my daddy rocked me in his arms and Uncle Danny howls the ‘woohooohoohoo’ background part. Now, Daddy, Ben, and my brother Clark do a mighty fine version of their own.”