Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Shot of Silly

My daughter Dana said to Emma, my granddaughter, “Go ahead and ask Grandpa your question.”

Emma grinned at me and then asked, “Grandpa, if he is your cousin, why is his hair such a different colour from yours?” I grinned with her.

Emma had just met her brand new 2nd and 3rd cousins for the very first time. My cousin Perry Kirkpatrick, his wife Kat and their two kids, Neal and Sophie, had stopped in for a visit while on their holidays. We were now together as four families for a time of story telling, laughter and looking each other over.

I thought that Emma would be interested in meeting their kids. But her fascination was with my cousins rich head of dark red/brown hair…contrasted to her grandpa’s 99% white hair. If they are cousins how come they look so different? One is OLD and the other is YOUNG? Doesn’t make sense to a 9 year old! Her cousins are all about her age and they look like the same family. Grandpa and Perry are a whole generation apart!

Dinner together was pure fun. It was silliness ordered along with the food we ordered. Both Perry and I come form a long line of people that love to get together and laugh, telling crazy stories about back home – Truax and Regina, Saskatchewan. Perry grew up in a very small town – and because his dad, Neal, was the first person I ever worked for – there were lots of stories.

There is an age difference for sure. I graduated from High School the year Perry was born! Add to that I received a genetic heritage of our grandfather’s early white hair and Perry received his other grandfather’s redish coloured, thick hair.

We look different for sure – but we are a whole lot alike. We inherited the Kirkpatrick “silly and fun gene”.

It was so much fun to laugh deeply and tell funny stories.

At one point when I looked at Clifford my grandson and then at Neal, Perry’s son they were grinning and listening closely to one of my stories…that I had experienced when I was a boy their age. They were connecting to a past that they knew nothing of… Emma grinned from ear to ear – looking back and forth at Perry and me.

I told them of a story of how I had, along with another cousin Gene(just younger than me), taken Gene’s brother and wired him to an electric fence to get rid of “the little nuisance”! We knew we wouldn’t kill him – but rather just shock him a little… I was Clifford’s age when I did this to Wayne, Gene’s brother. Wayne was Neal’s age.

The story is too complicated here to write about… but the laughter was long and loud as I told them the part of the story where our Grandpa Kirkpatrick had asked Gene and I what we had done to Wayne that day – he said, “What did you do to that kid? I heard him screaming all the way from the barn a quarter mile away!!!?”

Yes – Yes I know that it was wrong to hurt a cousin that way…but… he was a pain – a real pain! Many YEARS later I did meet Wayne as an adult at a family reunion… I did apologize deeply as an ordained minister, fully repentant and deeply sorry (kind of) for what I had done. Wayne, who is 99% like a heavy set Biker Dude, grinned from ear to ear and answered, “Maybe that is why I can’t remember much…Ha Ha Ha!”

Clifford and Neal laughed deeply with my cousin Perry. Kat, Perry’s wife, just shook her head – happy that those days were long over. Clifford kept looking at his grandfather over and over again. Emma was still back on Perry’s hair colour.

A Shot of Silly is so great in the middle of a muddle. Life can be so serious and so impossible – but laughing is something that is a gift from God. And this Grandpa has enough silly and downright funny stories in his past life to make any grandkid, younger cousin, 2nd cousin and whole family laugh forever!!!

I am older now… and would never allow my grandkids to do the things that I did when I was their age. The experiments with… oops… not allowed to tell that story…. the time that we ….oops that one is out too… and remember when we…. Oops again.

I know, I know…act your age you silly old, man! For goodness sake act like the white hair, respected Grandfather you are….

I can’t because a Shot of Silly runs through my blood veins – and it feels so good!

How about you? When is the last time you laughed? Or is your middle of the muddle too impossible to see silly? Come on LIGHTEN UP!

~ Murray Lincoln ~

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