Assaulting a Felon with a Fruitcake

In the second post of Christmas, I truly give to you….

 fruitcake hat

Next to the story of Christ’s birth in the Bible and the story of Ralphie in the movie A Christmas Story, my third favorite Christmas story is one my cousin Tim told at our Christmas gathering this year.  In order to do it justice, I’m going to write up the dialogue that transpired as he tried to tell what happened.

Grandma (to Tim): You feeling okay?

Tim: I’m feeling fine.  Why do you ask?

Grandma: I thought you went to the hospital.

Tim: I didn’t go to the hospital.  Who told you that?

Grandma: I heard they called an ambulance to your house.

Tim:  That was for the burglar.  They took him to the hospital.

Me:  You were burglarized?

Tim:  Yeah, some guy broke in and took off with my watch, my billfold, my cell phone, my truck keys and some other stuff.

Aunt Sue:  Well, actually, he didn’t break in.  The door was open.

Tim:  Yeah, the door was open.

Me:  The door was open?  That’s not burglary.  That’s Christmas hospitality.

Tim:  Well, he did take my stuff.

Me:  Okay, that’s burglary, I guess.  Did he get away?

Tim:  No, I came running out of the house just as he was about to get in the truck.  He was out there talking to one of my neighbors.  I said, “Is this the ‘gentleman’ who just robbed me?”  Only I didn’t say “gentleman”.

{I can’t quite remember the flow of the story at this point.  I do know that the burglar, who was wearing Tim’s coat and shoes threw them on the ground, along with his wallet, keys and cell phone.  Rather than appeasing him, it only seemed to make Tim angrier.  I guess he did it in a threatening way.  Anyway, they are standing by the truck and Tim notices something on the hood.  He thinks it’s a billy-club.  Rather than waiting to see if the burglar reaches for it, he grabs it and squeezes it tightly.  It crumbles.}

Tim: ” What is this?”

Burglar: “Fruitcake.”

Tim:  “Fruitcake?  You stole somebody’s fruitcake.”  (continuing his story)  So anyway, I’m standing there and we’re squared off and I’m thinking.  “This guy’s got an athletic build.”

Molly (Tim’s daughter):  So let me get this right.  You were checking out his body?

Tim: You got to understand. Before you can fight somebody, you’ve got to size them up.  I’m thinking the guy’s got some strength.

{Ultimately, the guy takes off running.  Tim tells his neighbors to call the cops.  Then, he chases him down.  This wasn’t difficult to do because the burglar had taken Tim’s shoes off by then and Tim had put them on.  Tim caught the shoe-less bandit by a dumpster and proceeded to pound him into the pavement until the police arrived.

My uncle Geoff then read the brief blurb about the incident  from the newspaper where it said the guy  was being held on 4 charges and a $13,000 bond.  Tim was surprised it was set so low.  I think they took pity on the guy.

So here’s my take on this story.  I truly hope the guy is okay. I have to believe he is. He clearly is not a seasoned criminal or I think he would have made some better criminal-like decisions.

What I like about  the story (as a story) is how it serves as a complete antethesis to the classic novel (and now popular movie) Les Miserables.  When ex-convict Jean Valjean steals Bishop Myriel’s silverware and is caught, Valjean lies and says it was given to him.  When called upon to press charges, Bishop confirms the lie and offers him even more – costly candlesticks.   It’s an illustration of God’s abundant grace.  This grace inspires Valjean later to receive redemption.

Clearly, my cousin Tim is no Bishop Myriel.  And maybe I shouldn’t celebrate his sense of vigilante justice.  It’s just strike a human chord in me (and reminds of just how far the distance is between us and God).  As Lyle Lovett puts it in the song “God Will” –

Who keeps on trusting you
When you’ve been cheating
And spending your nights on the town
And who keeps on saying that he still wants you
When you’re through running around
And who keeps on loving you
When you’ve been lying
Saying things ain’t what they seem
God does
But I don’t
God will
But I won’t
And that’s the difference
Between God and me

So who says he’ll forgive you
And says that he’ll miss you
And dream of your sweet memory
God does
But I don’t
God will
But I won’t
And that’s the difference
Between God and me

(lyrics found at Cowboy Lyrics)

(image “Fruitcake hat” from Rochelle, just rochellesome rights reserved)


– Introduction to – “The 12 Posts of Christmas

– In the first post of Christmas, I truly gave to you – “God is With Us (a Christmas Story based on Matthew 1.18-2.12)

– In the third post of Christmas, I truly gave to you – “Some of the Best Christmas Blogs for 2012

– In the fourth post of Christmas, I truly gave to you – “I Wonder as I Wander

– In the fifth post of Christmas, I truly gave to you – “Be More Like a Child at Christmas (and beyond)

– In the sixth post of Christmas, I truly gave to you – “Five Favorite Movies for the Christmas Season

– In the seventh post of Christmas, I truly gave to you – “From India to Indiana: My New E-Pal

– In the eighth post of Christmas, I truly gave to you – “What Sam Found in His Backpack After Break (A Prompted Poem)

– In the ninth post of Christmas, I truly gave to you – “The Precise Dilemma: A Book Review

– In the tenth post of Christmas, I truly gave to you – “Potentially Praiseworthy Poems Posted on WordPress


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