My dad’s side of the family is Irish. English and German. But it is the Irish heritage we grew up with. That is the side of the family we knew and my dad told us about. It was no surprise with this heritage that he had a great sense of humor and was the consummate story teller. We begged for stories of his childhood, when he was in the army (drafted during Korean War) and really any because even though we heard them 100 times they continued to be hilarious and fresh. And that is the mark of a great story teller. I don’t think it really hit home about his story telling heritage until I took a vacation to Ireland a couple of years ago with friends. We took a bus tour which I recommend if you have never been there since you will not get the lay of the land, the history or the stories without a tour. Your bus driver is your tour guide and he will regale you with daily stories. Ours reminded me of my dad with the stories and humor. I laughed constantly and I think it was one of the best trips of my life especially because I was surrounded by my ancestors and their heritage.
My dad’s sense of humor was his saving grace growing up and what made him the gentle, loving, caring man he was. He forever found humor, satire, even sarcasm in things without hurting anyone. My mom says I have his dry sense of humor and I have often been called “a smart ass” by my elders. I try to look for that humor to keep me sane and sometimes it is hard, but it is necessary for my survival. And it came as no surprise that when I met my husband it was his sense of humor that attracted me to him (he was voted Class Clown in high school). We have a great relationship because we can laugh together.
It dawned on me this year that I was forever finding humor in my garden. Daily I would laugh and look for the humor; needed it in fact. So where was there humor in my garden. It was in the critters who visited or lived in the yard-the frogs, birds, toads, fox, deer and rabbits to name a few. Their antics daily were so innocent and childlike that you couldn’t help but laugh and enjoy them.
One of the more interesting and funny stories was the bluebirds. We put in bluebird houses, but the bluebirds rarely get in them. They are knocked out early by sparrows or swallows. This year , we had one bird house left that was attached to one of our windows so we could watch nesting birds. And a pair of bluebirds were determined to nest there. We would hear the scratching and what we thought was the nesting of the birds. So when we looked in on them this is what we saw- a rather irritated bird who was trying to defend and get rid of the bird he was seeing in the window. Unfortunately, the light on that window created a mirror effect no matter what we did so this bird was literally there for hours pecking at the window to try to scare off the other bird she thought was there. We eventually had to take down the house because this bird could not move into the house without seeing the intruder bird. While we felt sorry for the pair of bluebirds we couldn’t miss the humor in the situation. The bird acts on instinct, but we can move beyond that instinct and reason and even laugh at situations that we may have found upsetting hours earlier.
By far the funniest animals though were the frogs. Every day I would go to the pond off the patio and sit to watch them. Some would just hang right next to you, others would leap and screech in fear, still others would hide amongst the lily pads. I would often wonder about those who were always so fearful. No matter how much you would try to tell them you come in peace, they lived in fear. No trust. The others though who just hung out were my role models all summer. Moving into the sun and soaking it in, going into the shade as needed, floating as if they had no cares in the world. Ah, that was the life!! The life I aspire to, the life my dad aspired to-living in the moment, finding the humor in the situations and by all means laughing.
Frogs also symbolize cleansing in some Native American cultures. Frog medicine calls you to take a break and bathe in the water or breathe the air that cleanses your soul. Frogs call for new life, harmony, replenishment; finding time for yourself. So it made perfect sense I sought the frogs daily to be part of their world.
I find whenever I am stressed I crave humor. It is like an addiction. And so I will turn the TV to a funny old movie, or a sitcom that laughs at life and even one of the irreverent funny shows that are really out there. Whatever it takes to make me laugh loud and long; laughing so hard I am in tears and my stomach hurts. It is in those moments I can release the stress; the craziness that has been building. Only then can I say to heck with all the stress, let me live among the frogs and laugh at life every day.
I leave you with 2 quotes to contemplate.
One if you find your sense of humor has left you:
“A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.” Henry Ward Beecher
And one that says it all for why we need that sense of humor:
A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.” William Arthur Ward
I choose a sense of humor–I choose to live a happy life as often as I can!!