Last night as someone posted a great story about laughing at their son, I had a flashback that clearly explains why I’m the way I am. Let’s just blame my mother for this one. She started it.
It all began when I was very young and … nah, we’ll move ahead a few years. In those early days, we were pure entertainment for Mom.
Mom and I were in downtown Iowa City on a cold, snowy day. The walks and streets hadn’t been cleared well, but we had shopping to do and we were there to do it. While walking, we approached an intersection and something horrible happened … well, not really horrible, but I slipped and fell right on my butt. Mom watched me go down, the light turned so she had the right of way to cross the street and she did just that. The woman left me! On the cold, wet ground! Then she turned back to me and called out from the other side, telling me to hurry up, she was getting cold!
This was the problem of living in my family.
My sister, though, was the most graceful klutz I’ve ever known. One Sunday, our church planned for a noon potluck. We scurried home (a two-block walk) after church and went in to gather up the food to take back. One of the things we were taking was a beautiful glass (inexpensive crystal) large compote bowl on a pedestal. For some reason or other, Mom (or Carol) had already put potato chips into the bowl. Carol was carrying that bowl and something in her other hand, when her foot missed a step on the front porch. Mom and I had gone in front of her and the two of us stood on the sidewalk, watching in horror as she went down.
It was a slow-motion fall for all of us. There was nothing Mom or I could do. We couldn’t rescue the glass bowl and both of us knew it was going to be shattered into pieces once it hit the concrete. To this day, none of us know how Carol managed to pull it off, but she landed on the sidewalk, both of her feet in the air and by golly, she’d managed to keep that bowl upright, only losing one potato chip in the process. Talk about sticking a landing. Well, with her butt.
Once again, poor Carol had to suffer through the humiliation of us howling with laughter as we helped her stand back up. And yes, she carried that bowl to the church. At that point, she was a master at it.
The last quick story I have to tell happened at our print shop in Omaha. We owned a quick-printing shop – Insty-Prints – for over twenty years. It was another wintry day and I’d gone out to pick something up. Maybe it was an order of paper or maybe it was just lunch. Who knows. It was heavy enough, though, that I needed to park up front so we could unload it. The only problem was, the only parking space available was tucked into a weird little area that was incredibly steep on the driver’s side. Nobody liked parking there. Especially in winter. When there was ice on the ground.
I distinctly remember the customer who had taken the parking space right in front of our door. We arrived at nearly the same time and he was in an obvious hurry, so cut me off in order to park where he wanted. No problem. I’m gracious. I smiled and waved at him as I parked the car. We got out of our cars at the same time. The only problem was that as I put my foot on the ground, there was no way I could remain standing. He watched as my feet slid out from under me while I held on to the car door. Slapstick, to be sure.
Poor Carol stood at the counter watching this whole thing take place (oh dear heavens, I hope you’re laughing uproariously because it had to have been the funniest thing ever). She couldn’t do anything to help me because she was about to have a very insistent customer standing in front of her. He went on inside, completely ignoring the fact that I was sliding down a hill with no hope of stopping until I got to the bottom. Carol’s face was priceless. In shock that this was happening to me and in more shock that he’d walked away from it and acted as if nothing was happening right behind him.
Now, I wasn’t hurt at all. Even my pride didn’t take too much of a beating. There was nothing I could have done differently. I slid to where the parking lot was cleaner and managed to pull myself upright, then walked to the front door and in. As I passed them, Carol looked at me, trying to apologize and I just laughed. I said hello to him. He refused to look at me and as quickly as he could finish the transaction, he was gone. He asked for us to deliver the next few projects.
So … it’s no fair for me to share my stories without asking for yours. It’s Sunday night and tomorrow starts another work week. We could use a laugh. What is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you or someone in your family? And let’s make sure that everyone was okay so we can laugh without guilt, all right? I look forward to starting off the week with your great stories.