Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Go Ahead And Laugh
Yesterday I was behind a family in the checkout line in the grocery store, and a little girl about 2 years old was sitting in the basket ahead of me. She found the child in me, and we had the best time. We waved, blinked our eyes, and laughed together. It reminded me of the little child in each of us, that part of us that needs to play and laugh, especially in today's world. My experience also brought back a childhood memory that makes me smile. It's recorded in my book, Silent Echoes, and I want to share it with you today in an abbreviated version. It takes place in the Great Depression years when my mother was a widow, and most people were dirt poor. We lived in a combination living room and bedroom with a small kitchen in the basement, and shared a bathroom with other tenants.
There was no spending money for us kids, but we discovered a way to get money for movies and treats. Mama met a store owner down the street named Stanley. He was nice, but Mama made it clear she wasn't interested in a romantic relationship, so he settled for friendship and came to visit occasionally with gum and candy for us.
One afternoon, after Stanley had been for a visit, Jackie found our little brother, Lee, outside playing with a nickel and two pennies.
"Where'd you get the money?" he asked.
"In the chair."
Jackie took us inside to find the place. We stood huddled together while Lee showed us a hole in the back of the old leather chair where Stanley had been sitting. We knew the money had fallen out of his pockets. We couldn't hold back our giggles. There were always people in and out of our apartment, so from then on we sat all the male visitors in that chair, telling them it would be more comfortable. Mama smiled at us and said it's nice to be polite. We just grinned.
I'm not advocating such trickery as portrayed in the above scene, but when times are hard, we need to look to the child in us who knows how to make a kite from an old worn out dishrag. Many children have sadness or pain in their lives, but they're ingenious, and they find ways to survive through laughter. Sometimes that spirit gets lost when we grow up, but we could take a lesson from the little ones. When the sun doesn't shine, look inside for the child in you and remember when you used to laugh. Try it again, even if you don't feel it, because the more you laugh, the more you will feel it. It's wired in us.
I wish you smiles on your journey.