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Sunday, June 25, 2017

THE MASTERS OF LAUGH


Growing up, we were poor. No one owned a car but Dad and Mom didn't drive. Dad's job sustained us from one week to the next, and when I reached the age of 16, I got my working papers and a job, contributing all but $5 to the family purse. It wasn't required, I just did it because I knew I should. It helped a lot.

Although there was plenty of food in the house, we ate the old-fashioned Depression-era dishes that sustained my grandparents and their children. When we ate, we were all around the table at the same time, if you were missing it meant you were away or too sick to come to the table.

Our shoes were repaired at a shoemaker and our clothing was repaired and let out by Mom. When we finally outgrew our clothing, off to Picken Avenue we went to get new ones at a good price. We ate everything that was put on our plates and never wasted. If we didn't like something that Mom made, we couldn't leave the table until it was finished! In spite of the poverty ways, we were sent to parochial school at great sacrifice, having to pay for tuition and books, and dressed like everyone else. Strick discipline was the norm, and our lives centered around the church.

With all the hardships, along with never going away on vacation or to a restaurant, there was one unifying force that kept us together and sane, and that was the insanity of laughter, the cure-all of our drab lives. Dad had a great sense of humor, based mostly on our economic conditions that ruled our family, and Mom, well she laughed all the time. Just say something funny and she laughed out loud, a good strong laugh that became her trademark.

There were times that Dad pulled things on me when I was least expecting them. One night I was watching a horror movie on TV and was really into it. Something was about to happen as I lay on the floor in front of the TV, as was my habit. The music was building up to that tension-filled moment when out of nowhere comes this hand in front of my face and a YAHHHHH! To scare the living bejesus out of me! After the heart attack I had, I thought how wonderful it was that Dad did that. The moment stayed with me for years until I could get my revenge, and revenge I got! It was my graduation party from high school, and we had a lawn party going on. Relatives and friends came from all over, and in the midst of all the talking and chatter, was Dad asleep on a lounge chair. I looked around and there sat in the hot sun was a hose connected to an outdoor spigot, Perfect. I got the nozzle of the hose and gently slipped it into Dad's side pocket, and turn on the water at a drizzle, A combination of the water and it being warm made Dad jump up and race into the house thinking he had an accident! There were other things I did too numerous and often to relate here, but we always had a good laugh.

Then there is Mom, who once asked me to think of something to do to Dad to get him back for some reason. My little sister had a doll, one that repeated whatever you said, and the voice was creepy. I took the mechanism out f the doll and taped it under his chair, and while doing it, Mom is hysterical laughing!

We waited for Dad to come home from work.

We were all quiet as Dad came into the kitchen. That should have been a warning, He sits down and we wait for him to say something and finally, he does. As he talks the rigged chair is activated, causing him to jump a mile high. Mom was beside herself in hysterics.

Love is a familiar thing, to sustain it you need good food and good laughter.

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