I don’t write humour. At least, not as a genre. But I could.
I say that because it seems I’ve been surrounded by muses that offer anecdotes to make me, and others, laugh. Allow me to share one of them with you.
If you asked all my siblings who the funniest person in our family is, I’m sure they would all say our dad. He’s funny. Ironically, he’s a quiet, unassuming man who’s usually not trying to be funny. He just says and does things to make us all laugh. There is a joy there that comes out just in who he is.
And not just that, he has always been quick to laugh. When you get him going, he has the best from-the-gut, boisterous laugh. And who’s he laughing at most of the time? Himself. He is comfortable with himself. He doesn’t take himself seriously; it’s a choice he’s made—I see that now. Because of this quality, he’s never been afraid to ask the “dumb” questions—to try new things. Even at 90-years-old, he’s still learning. And still laughing.
Not that long ago, I received an email from dad (again, no embarrassment involved) with a video attachment—a short little unsuspecting clip. When I opened it, I had to laugh. The scene: The center of a mall in Saskatoon, close to Christmas. The opportunity: To allow kids to try out the mechanical riding animals. The video clip: My dad, riding a mechanical panda around the kiosk. The child inside of him just had to do it, I guess. He’s smiling—enjoying himself. I hear my mom laughing, along with her brother and his wife. Just writing this makes me giggle all over again. Oh Dad—I could write a book on the silly ways you’ve made our family laugh. Thank-you!
When Dad turned 85, we, (as in the six of us kids, husbands, and grandchildren) planned a special event for him—a celebratory “roast” of sorts. It was my chance to bring humour into the celebration—and to hear his laugh once again.
So, I wrote and performed a little skit with my brother. I was Don Cherry and he was, “straight-man” Ron MacLean. I chose these two characters because: 1. My dad loves hockey, and has been a faithful Maple Leafs fan since the league began. 2. We grew up watching Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday night, and my dad has loved “Coach’s Corner” since its debut in 1980.
The opening scene: Ron MacLean (my brother) sits behind a desk, an empty chair beside him. The theme music to “Coach’s Corner” comes on. I walk in from the back, dressed in a flashy suit jacket, carrying my pet dog “Bull” (who is wearing a Maple Leafs jersey) under my arm. I sit down, and place the dog beside the desk on the floor.
And as I acted out my role, I listened. I heard my dad laugh, my siblings laugh, my relatives laugh.
There is something so satisfying in being able to sprinkle a bit of humour into people’s lives; but the ability to do so is also humbling because it is a gift—a gift given by God to remind people that God too loves it when we laugh and enjoy life and each other. And that we shouldn’t take ourselves so seriously so much of the time.
I’m thankful for Dad’s legacy of laughter passed down to me. I hope, in some small way, I can live up to that legacy and spread God’s joy to the people around me, whether in the written word or the spoken word.