Looking for Laughter

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.

54 thoughts on “Looking for Laughter

  1. My favorite part was that last line.
    We’ve laughed a lot in my house in the past 24 hours, for some reason. Anyhow. It seems that potty humor is the answer to the current dearth of laughter.
    Thank you for sharing your dad’s birthday with us.

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    1. I am vindicated – potty humor IS the answer to some stressful situations. I mean who doesn’t laugh when someone is laughing so hard that they toot?? Thank-you for enjoying the post and looking for laughter!

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  2. Good morning Val,

    What a fine work of prose for starting my day off on the right foot~! I truly enjoyed meeting your dad, he would be a great person to sit and banter with. I am also sure that he had something to do with your abilities of painting word pictures on life. I too love a good play on words, which often fly right over the head of the receiver. I too find old memories, puns, and double entendre fun, and I am sure others sometime think that I “over do it”, but it beats preaching or finding fault, while it serves the same purpose. I bet that you, like my sons, sometime used the expression: “oh Dad, not that again~!”, while he chuckled to his self.

    Above all, this is one of those posts that go into my special file of “great thoughts to remember”, along with several others you have given to us. A confession I do not willingly give; I am one year older than your dad would be~! Thanks for making my day~!

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    1. Thanks SAM. My dad had a generally stern aura but anyone who got to know him thought he was warm and friendly and that he had a sense of humor to be envied. I think you’d have had a wonderful chat! I’m very honored to know that this post is worthy of being in the save pile vs the scrap heap!! I hope your day and weekend are filled with punny funny moments!

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  3. David Sedaris said that he loves his family because they laugh together. Like my own family, his family always thought they were smarter and funnier than everyone else. I once went to a holiday dinner at a boyfriend’s house and I was nonplussed by his family’s utter lack of humor. I decided there and then not to marry into such a lackluster family.
    The older I get, the more convinced I am of God’s wicked sense of humor…take for instance the way we procreate! I’d rather be seen singing in the shower or dancing.

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    1. Ha! Yes, tis true. God has a wicked funny sense of humor. It explains so much about our world! One of the things that attracted me to Sparky was his ability to make me laugh. Even after 37 years he is still making me laugh (even though most of the jokes I can’t/won’t share)! He may lose his hair, I may shrink/expand, but our love and laughter is forever young.

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    1. Thanks bunches. It has been 13 years and although the loss is there it is not so keen that I suffer. I can now focus on the good memories and less on my own sense of loss. I hope your grieving softens too.

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      1. It’s been 16 years for me. Now it’s his birthday which my Grandma died on 5 years ago and his death Anniversary that I feel the pain the most. Now day to day it is less than it used to be.

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  4. God’s sense of humor is notorious yet under-appreciated. People take God far too seriously. I think it is a great gift to you that you remember your dad’s sense of humor. I remember my dad’s, too, though he died 48 years ago. There were things he found funny that WERE funny but others wouldn’t have seen it.

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    1. I think the ability to see the absurd is a gift that too many parents fail to gift to their children. I’m so happy to have learned to laugh at my father’s side and to learn to appreciate humor. Humor is one of the things I rely on when this year gets to be just too much! And God’s sense of humor is not always recognized… I agree with you whole heartedly!

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  5. your heart ache for your Dad is palpable, but to remember is with such a fitting hilarious poem is what he would have enjoyed … I often think of God laughing as she looks down on us 🙂

    PS found my favourite ice cream … it’s lovely creamy caramel and maple with a coating of dark chocolate with crushed macadamias YUMMY!

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    1. Thanks Kate! I think God and my father are laughing and telling each other jokes (though I’m pretty sure God has heard them all before…)
      The ice cream sounds very decadent and very yummy – can’t go wrong with dark chocolate anything!

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                    1. See that’s just wrong! The dessert pie is a thing of beauty, an art form and the crowning glory of a well made meal. The difference between a homemade pie and a store-bought one is akin to drinking a glass of very cold water on a hot day versus looking at a photo of a glass of cold water. The closest we get is a chicken pot pie which is not held in the hand but rather like a stew with a pastry top… So many things are the same but there are definite differences!

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                    2. a meat pie is a stable quick snack or lunch here, so that’s why I personally thanked the guy who added veggo options … that is rare!

                      most here use box pastry anyway, bread baking has only become trendy since lockdown. We don’t really bake much except a baked dinner weekly … too hot really. So our salad making is something to be admired 🙂

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  6. My older kids used to make me laugh when I was carrying the older ones. They loved to see my stomach jiggle. I remember being in Africa when all the other missionaries nearby came to our house for a prayer meeting. We were dog-sitting for our neighbors who had gone home to Switzerland for the summer. Dina was an old german shepherd. She was sound asleep as we were praying when suddenly she started snoring very loudly. One by one we started to laugh until we were all roaring. That was the end of the prayer meeting. Looking back, I’m sure God was laughing with us.

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  7. i loved your prose poem – you made me feel the laughter not just hear it. and made me realise that I too recall my father’s laughter by his posture and gestures. happy birthday to your wonderful dad.

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  8. Awesome post, Muri. It made me think of my dad’s laugh. He too spent his final years on dialysis, struggling with neuropathy, needing all his energy to keep going, but when he was young, he had a wonderful laugh and laughed a lot. The TV show MASH was one of his favorites and when I watch reruns of it now, I can almost hear him guffawing at the funny parts. I agree that there has been a dearth of laughter lately. Any time I am tempted to laugh at some COVID-related phenomenon or inconvenience, I feel guilty. Like when I’d giggle behind my hand in Catholic school “health” class and Sister Alice Marie would say, “Is something funny, Miss Nieset? Perhaps you’d like to share it with the whole class.” People are too focused on gratitude these days to make light of anything. If your job irks you, you should shut up and be glad you have one. If you’ve been reduced to eating nothing but beans and therefore fart all the time, at least you’re not starving. And just think how much you’ll save on your heating bill! I have joined a stand-up group where it’s OK (I hope) to be irreverent about our current situation and make/allow each other to laugh. We soooooo need it.

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  9. What a wonderful tribute and what a wonderful memory your dad has left you with. Laughter. that is so awesome.
    Little Cutie and Tbear make me laugh…as do my tutoring students sometimes. I also love old sitcoms like “I love Lucy” and even old movies like Cinderfeller. 🙂

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