August 01, 2018

The Magic of Laughter by Sandi Somers

 “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)
“…for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.” Proverbs 15:15 (NLT)
This month we're adding a little humour, asking our writers focus on the lighter side of their writing life.

* * *
The following is a true story, written during my days as a Teacher Librarian. I’ve changed a couple details to disguise the boys’ identities. And although I wrote it in the form of a fairy tale, I saw the hand of God working in the “coincidental” details.

A Tale of Two Shoes
Part 1: Natif
          Once upon a time a boy named Natif came to our school and joined our Grade Two class. He was new to Canada, having just immigrated with his family. One October day we had a heavy wet snowfall. This was the first snow Natif had seen.
 I was was on supervision in the school’s entryway as Natif returned for the afternoon class. Wet, large snowflakes clung to his black hair and jacket, and he scrunched his body and wrapped his arms around himself, trying to keep warm.
          “How do you like the snow, Natif?” I asked.
          “No like!” he said as he stomped his feet to clear snow off his running shoes.
          “Natif, you have new outdoor running shoes,” I said. “They’re nice black and white ones.” He smiled proudly as he took them off, set them on the rack and left for his classroom.
          Snow kept falling all afternoon.
Part 2: Grant
          Now in the same school was a ten-year-old boy, Grant, from the Special Ed class. At 3:15, the bell rang to dismiss the students. Quickly the school emptied, and even most of the teachers went home early to avoid rush hour traffic tie-ups. Because I lived close, I wasn’t worried about my five-minute commute, and so stayed to finish up loose ends.
          I heard footsteps approach the library where I was working: clunk, step; clunk, step; clunk step. Grant arrived, one large running shoe on one foot, one sock on the other foot. “I can’t find my other outdoor running shoe!” he said, “Where’s my shoe? I can’t go home until I find my running shoe!”
I hugged him. “You wore it to school,” I said, “so it’s got to be around here somewhere.”
We searched his classroom. “Where’s my shoe? What happened to my running shoe?” he asked again, more to himself than to me.
We searched my library where he had had a class earlier that afternoon. No shoe. We searched through the lost and found box, turning over all the gloves and shoes and boots and sweaters. No shoe. We searched again—carefully—his classroom. No shoe. We searched everywhere but could find no running shoe.
          “But there’s another one…” Grant said, leading me to the student entry way. He picked up a black and white running shoe, exactly like his, but much smaller. And much newer. “I tried it on,” he said, “but it didn’t fit. I can’t even get my foot in! Where’s my other running shoe?”
Part 3: The fairy godmother

         Just then the fairy godmother appeared and waved her wand, sprinkling fairy dust over me. At once I made a connection. I had seen smaller running shoes just like Grant’s that noon. Natif’s! He must have picked up Grant’s shoe and gone home in the snow, one small shoe and one large shoe. Swish step, swish step, swish step.
          I phoned Natif’s home. His older brother Ali answered. “Has Natif come home yet?” I asked slowly, as Ali wasn’t fluent in English yet.
          There was a long pause, then Ali said, “Yes, he home. Why?”
          “Can you check his running shoes? Are the two shoes the same?”
I waited.
          He was laughing when he picked up the phone. “Same shoes. One little, one big. And big one old!” Sure enough, Natif had gone home with Grant’s other shoe—and he hadn’t even noticed. He quickly returned to school, and the boys switched running shoes.
          The two boys left: Step, step; step, step; step, step
And so we all went home and lived happily ever after.
* * *
          It was a delight to experience and write this story, and I still have tender images of Grant, the perplexed boy who couldn’t find his running shoe.
Now over to you. Tell about a humourous incident that happened in relation to your writing life, or one you wrote about. Alternatively, tell about how you use humour in your writing.


  1. What a sweet story! That kind of thing happens at elementary schools all the time!

  2. Thanks, Sandi. Having spent three decades in elementary schools, I can identify with this story. Hunting for lost shoes, boots, and mitts is part of the daily routine. One boy, Sammy, couldn't find his new winter coat, so after recess, when the coats were all on the racks, I walked up and down the hallway with him looking for his new coat.

    When we got to the coat hooks outside his brother's Grade 2 classroom, Sammy stopped beside his brother's coat. "I just remembered," he said, "I wore my old coat to school today." We went back to the coats outside our classroom and there was his old coat hanging on the hook.

  3. Thank you Sandi for the story and the verse - one of my fav verses. From a happy heart.


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