Friday, October 16, 2009

Laugh a Little

My grandmother on my father's side was quite a joke teller and prankster. I will never forget the time she watched us for a weekend while my parents were out of town. Our first activity was to short sheet my parent's bed. She explained that they would be tired when they came home and what a surprise they would get when they discovered her little trick.

My grandmother was so full of life that her neighbors on both sides of her moved out to be in a more quiet apartment. She would play cards and tell stories into the wee hours of the morning. This went on all the way into her nineties. She even planned her own funeral which she wanted to include, "When the Saints Go Marching In" as a tear-jerker for the packed crowd. For her, planning a funeral was as exciting as preparing for a party and she attended many for friends that preceded her. She knew how to draw a crowd and there was not an empty seat in the house when her time came to appear on the "Big Stage" in Heaven. I can see all the angels and saints laughing at her endless supply of jokes.

"Grandma" and "great-grandma" were names that were too old-sounding for her, so all of us called her "Grammy" or "Gigi" (short for great-grandmother). I can still hear her signature laugh that is well imitated by many of my cousins. It is like the noise you make when you become scared or accidentally trip on something.

My father did not talk too much about his childhood. There were painful memories of an older brother that was diagnosed with Leukemia. His brother had to travel to another city for treatments. My grandfather dedicated his life to serving others as a family doctor, but there was nothing he could do for his own son. I can only imagine how difficult it was for the family to deal with this kind of loss.

As I recall my childhood, I remember watching family shows like "Happy Days". Those shows have been replaced with "reality TV" or dramas about crime. I stopped watching the news because it became too depressing.

My point for today is that we can't forget to laugh a little. I have a tennis buddy that sends me jokes regularly. They remind me of my Grammy. She went out of her way to brighten the lives of the people around her with her strange sense of humor. May your life be filled with laughter like the kind Grammy gave our world.

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