John Tinker is married to columnist Ronda Rich and is an executive producer and head writer of Hallmark’s When Calls the Heart.
This is a thank you note, though it might take a minute for me to get to the gratitude. It’s hard for me to feel deserving of the kindness you’ve given me.
I have a longtime friend who is a wonderful gift giver. Whatever he chooses — store bought or handmade, unwrapped or tied up with ribbons and bows — his presents are always thoughtful and heartfelt. I wish I were like that.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy gift giving — though I admit there’s a part of me that always feels my gifts are never quite “good enough.” I overthink the gift selection rather than giving straight from my heart.
So, upon handing someone a present, I’ll typically say quickly, “You can exchange it” or “If you already have one…” Then I flush with the realization I should’ve bought something else. I’m certain there are psychological implications here about my character but I’ll ignore them for now because I want to talk about your gift to me
By the way, before we go further, I’m worse at receiving gifts than giving them. I feel completely undeserving.
I’ve tried finding ways around this: I’ll tell someone, “Do not give me anything for Christmas.” I request this of Ronda whether it’s Christmas or my birthday or Valentine’s Day or some other occasion. She ignores my pleas, however, and she typically gets me something really terrific which, of course, only compounds the “undeserving-I-should’ve-gotten-you-something” quotient.
All thismishegoss (Yiddish for craziness or senseless behavior. I learned Yiddish from my mentor, Bruce Paltrow. My wife has Southernized it to mishegosh) on my part is not very gracious, I admit. But try as I might to tamp down my unbecoming behavior, I’m sure I manage to take away some of the joy from Ronda and other gift givers. To be honest. We’ve all sung this refrain at least some time in our life, “Aw, you didn’t have to do this.” Yes, regardless, the courteous and kind behavior would be for me just to thank the gift giver. Perhaps some of you understand how uncomfortable I can be with people’s kindness and gifts.
Thus, having made my confession and knowing how difficult this is for me, I want to… thank you.
Specifically, I want to thank all of you who have supported me by giving of your time to watch the Hallmark television series, When Calls the Heart, of which I am an executive producer and head writer. Now, understand, I believe it to be soothing, uplifting entertainment — the kind that families can watch together. It was that way for the seven seasons before I became the showrunner.
This season, it was you who made the difference. Some of you found out through this column, some through Ronda’s newsletter, or her friend, Karen Peck, others in social situations or a press release or magazine/TV story. And you tuned in — a large number of you who had never watched before. You gave of yourselves and that means the world to me.
In fact, you delivered the best ratings it’s ever had. Every episode topped with the previous week with bigger numbers. It was stunning to watch.
Of course, (and I can only speak for myself though I have seen that my colleagues feel the same), we who make the show will always try remembering an hour out of your day is a lot to give. It’s a precious gift. And on a Sunday night when, for whatever the reason, the hours always seem to be more precious than others.
I’m getting dangerously close to diminishing your gift by speaking of what you get in return. Instead, please, accept my appreciation for such thoughtfulness. Thank you. Very much.
Y’all turned the little show into the number one series on cable television for the year.
My heart runneth over.