Today would have been my Father’s 88th birthday. The sting of his death is gone. Now I’m just a little nostalgic. The thing I miss most is the sound of him laughing. I’ve written about his laugh before. The thing is, his laugh was missing for the last couple of years before he passed. He was so very weary and weak. The pain from the neuralgia and the toll dialysis took on him meant that all his available energy went to just staying alive. He loved slap stick comedy in general and Jerry Lewis movies specifically. He would tell jokes and I provided him YEARS of hilarity as I pondered “How do you get down from an elephant?” I get tickled reading old Garfield comics, watching most animated movies (Monsters, Inc still puts me in stitches in parts) and thinking about some of the truly ridiculous moments in my life. What makes you laugh?
So in honor of his birthday I wrote the following prose poem:
The funny thing is, I can’t recall the sound of my father’s voice, but his laugh is still echoing in my mind. I can hear it, see his face, see his shoulders shaking, his mouth open with a roar and a gasp. There has been a dearth of laughter lately. Laughing is a kind of communion with the creator. I’m convinced God has a wicked sense of humor. How else can you explain elbows and dimples, caterpillars and butterflies, flamingo knees and kangaroo pouches? I want to think that God laughs when someone farts or releases a really magnificent belch. I want to believe. There is divine amusement when seeing a funny movie, watching babies take the first taste of ice cream, seeing that regal cat miss the mark jumping from chair to bed. The sound of God laughing is all around us in the falling rain, the crunch of dry leaves, the sparkle of ice in winter sun. I can hear laughter when the crow calls, a donkey brays, and when we sing all off-key in church. I bet He has a good chuckle when I sing in the shower. Today I’m looking for laughter. I’ll strain to hear the whisper as my dad has a good laugh with the angels and when I hear it I’ll join in.