“Marry the man your father loves.”
Ben and Erin Napier were adorable long before they hit the big time with HGTV’s Home Town. In a blog post from 2015, Erin tells a story of how Ben gifted the men in her family—her father, uncle and two brothers—with the most thoughtful presents for Christmas that year.
You might want to grab the tissues for this one, folks.
It all began one day while they were cleaning out Erin’s late Pappaw’s workshop. Among the debris, Ben found four of Pappaw’s rusty old hammers, all with broken handles. Her dad was about to throw them away, but Ben said had other plans for the beat up tools. He asked if he could take them home.
Over the next few months, Ben took his time restoring the old hammers. He did an electrolysis bath on the iron heads to remove all the rust, and then fashioning new hickory handles for each of them. He got his mother-in-law to find an old document with Erin’s grandfather’s signature on it, and had Erin 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, and gave them each a 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,” Erin recalled in the heartfelt post. “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.”
She continued: “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.”
WATCH: Erin and Ben Napier Announce They Will Soon Be a Family of Three
The men in Erin’s family were stunned by the gifts, two of them even found themselves at a loss for words, offering just a gruff thank you and a handshake while tears pooled in their eyes. Later, Erin’s dad Phil summed up Ben’s gesture in a Facebook post. Alongside a photo of the hammers he simply wrote: “I have a fine son-in law.”
Erin concluded the post with a message to her female fans, “I cannot stress it enough to you single girls who may be reading my blog: marry the man your father loves,” she wrote. “He’s the one. Your dad knows.”