EDITOR’S NOTE: Here we go again, into the Geezer Tribe archives. I can’t tell you how much fun it is to read some of these “oldies but goodies.” This one is from July 2018 again. And it always amazes me how these pieces are just as fitting today as they were the day Linda wrote them.
By Linda Shaffer
Some really funny things happen in life and in some cases you may think laughter is not an appropriate response. While you may be correct in your logical mind, the rest of you will need to go somewhere and laugh until you get it all out of your system.
There are also things which demand laughter right on the spot. A good example would be the day my (11-12 year-old) brother went to clean Grandma’s chicken house for a piggy bank contribution. He was told to be careful of the GIANT critter trap. He was told not to touch the trap. While Mom, Grandma and I bustled around the kitchen, the back door opened with a slam and my brother entered like a warrior with a trap on his arm. He announced that he had found the trap. The rest of us laughed until we couldn’t talk and no one had the strength to help him until they stopped laughing.
The point here is that laughter will leave you weak as a kitten and unable to speak. I guess I should say that I hope we’re not the only ones this happens to… what if we are among the “truly deranged laughers”?? WAIT… before you answer, we did take the trap off of Chicken House Man. In fact, the next day he was quite well enough to lay on the road in front of the house trying to sell strawberries to anyone who happened by. I hid behind the hedge and a car did go by.
Nothing. Silence. I thought my brother had finally taken one adventure too many until he staggered through the opening in the hedge with tire tracks (homemade) right down the middle of him. We laughed. These are the memories I keep stored for the days I miss him.
During the past month or so we’ve lost some really good friends. No, we didn’t really lose them. They died. Each of them was younger than we are so we can’t blame age. It’s possible we could blame a lot of other things but why? When a person you love dies, they are gone. That’s the bottom line. What you have are the memories that person left with you. The times you spent together, the laughter you shared, the things you did together that made your relationship different than any other. If you think this over, you will find that those people you’ve lost have left a lot behind. They have shaped your life in some way or another. You may not know it now… but you will.
I am left with a legacy of laughter when I think of the family members and friends who are gone. My mind seeks out things that bring a smile with memories of them. I do this because I can only save the best of all the wonderful people I’ve known and said goodbye to. My mind is filled with their antics… silliness and humor of the best sarcastic kind. I do this because I’m not strong enough to face their loss straight-up. I have to save them in a way I can process without hurting me. I have to save their laughter and bring it out each time I start to miss their company… each time I want to talk to them.
Like all or most of you, I’ve had some tough times and loved some people who didn’t deserve my love. I try to avoid hating anything… even eating worms, creepy arrogant bosses, bullies and those who hurt others on purpose. It is less difficult each year for me to stop hating… why? It’s a waste of energy, brain space and time. I’m getting old and am running out of all of the above. I need to save the good stuff… and so I do. Oh sure, sometimes one of the old meanies shows up in my thoughts and I have to boost them out. I have finally learned that permission for all feelings… good, bad and ugly, comes from me.
When one of the creeps shows up… I replace them with my brother and the tire track or Mr. S in Mexico or Grover running on the beach. In the meantime I cherish the days when a good memory comes cruising in. I love those. They won’t go away, even when there are days I wish they would.
I grieve by remembering only the good. I haven’t forgotten the bad… I just choose not to focus on it. I make the rules and decide to laugh about things I did with loved ones who aren’t here now. I think this is a good idea for all of us. Otherwise, we may be left to despair… and we’re still geezers. We have plenty of time left for happiness. xoxo