All the Cozy Things, #3


Years ago, fifteen I’d guess, my mom, dad, aunt, uncle, and I did the White Pole Road garage sales.  We didn’t have time to stop at all the sales, but it was a really full, fun, laid-back, cozy kind of day.  We stopped for lunch along the way, we found a few treasures, and as the neighborhood reporter in the Earlham Echo used to say, years ago, a good time was had by all.

By mid-afternoon, we were getting slap-happy.  Things that weren’t really funny, all of a sudden were.  Things that were already funny, became hilarious.

We stopped for coffee in Waukee, and by the time we finished it was almost time for Mass, so I decided to go.  Even though what I’m about to tell you happened so long ago, I remember it well, because things got a little grim for a few minutes after Mass started.  Now I think it’s funny, but it wasn’t then.

The church wasn’t super crowded on a sunny summer Saturday.  All went well and my mind was occupied with a lot of responding and singing.

Then all got quiet as the reader began the first reading.  That’s when all the stuff we’d been laughing about popped into my mind.  I started to smile.  We’d had such a good time.  Then I snickered a little.  And then I kind of started to laugh.  Silently, but laughter, nonetheless.

I wasn’t worried at first.  I just had to stop thinking about the funny stuff we’d talked about.  I should take a deep breath, listen to the person reading.   Breathing in was fine.  But breathing out was all stuttery, because I was really laughing.  I really was, and I didn’t want to be.

Oh no.  What if I snorted.  That could NOT happen.  I mean, it very well could happen, but I couldn’t LET it happen!!!   Okay, I should think of something sad, but from a loooooong time ago, so I didn’t start crying.  Ummmmm ummmmm ummmmm, when the poor little kitten got its head stuck in the mayonnaise jar and my brother and I and a bunch of neighborhood kids watched my dad spend a ton of time and butter working the kitten’s head out and the poor thing had a greasy head and neck for the rest of its life.  Well, it apparently had happened too long ago to be that sad anymore.  Now it just struck me sadly as kind of funny.  It did not help.

Maybe something creepy.  When I was 13 or so, we tore down an old house to get the wood.  When it was all torn down, we burned what was left, and a bunch of rats ran out!  But one time, before we had it all torn down, was really funny.  A friend of mine had gone with us, and we were crawling through the windows to get in.  I went first and “Viola” followed me.  She got stuck going through, one leg in and one leg out.  She yelled, “I can’t get my hind leg through!” Cracked us up, ‘cuz we’re not dogs!  That sure didn’t stop me laughing!  Apparently “Viola” getting her hind leg stuck was funnier than the rats were creepy.

Things were getting dire at that point.   I’m sure the people behind me could see my shoulders shaking.  They probably thought I was crying.  I was just waiting for someone to put their hand on my shoulder to comfort me.

What if I not only snorted, what if I wet my pants?!!?  Not out of the realm of possibility!  I kind of started to panic.

I considered leaving, but I was sitting fairly close to the front, and it would have seemed like a long walk out.  I couldn’t decide what to do.

Then I realized in my panic, I wasn’t laughing so hard, my shoulders had stopped shaking.  But how long would it last?  I felt like snorts and wet pants were still only seconds away.  I took a deep breath.  In, out.  No stuttery laugh.  Another deep breath.  Still good.  I did it a few more times and did okay.

There is no surprise ending, which in this case, is a wonderful ending!  Mass seemed to last forever that day, but I managed to stay calm.  I smiled a few times, which made me catch my breath for a few seconds, but nothing else happened.  Who knew that panic would win out over sad and creepy!

I’d shared and thought about those stories more than a few times through the years.  Maybe that’s why I remembered them so easily that day.  For whatever reason, I’m glad I did.  Not because they helped, since they didn’t, but because of other fun times that came to mind.

All in all, it had been a good, fun day with family, followed by a rather rough few minutes at Mass that has turned into a memory that makes me laugh—in a place where I don’t have to worry about snorting and wetting my pants!

I KNOW you guys have stories where you have laughed at inopportune times!  Don’t be shy—let’s hear ‘em!!

The Faith, Family, Friends sign covers all the things I talked about (well, except snorts, and rats and stuff).  You can grab one in the This and That section of the website!

And just a shout-out to “Viola”!  She knows who she is!  Will she come forward???

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