I know I need to do some posts about the craft of writing, but I heard some laughing yesterday. My son and I were grocery shopping. Oddly enough, this is something that he and I enjoy doing together. We have continuous debates as we shop. This one was a question a friend had posed – does silence equal consent? But I’m not thinking serious debates at the moment; I’m thinking about that laughter.

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As we came through the freezer section, I heard full-on, unrestrained belly laughter from a little boy. And I heard a man saying, in a thick Southern accent, ‘oh no, we’re gonna crash!’. Sure enough, here was a dad pushing a cart with a toddler in the seat. I had to laugh right along with them. I told the man that my son and I used to do the same thing, then pointed to my ‘little toddler’ who was hucking a heavy bag of dog food for me. The man said, in that lovely accent, ‘Big guy, helpin’ his mama’.


The brief episode, besides being fun, got me wondering when we lose that freedom to let loose with laughter out in public. Children seem so unrestrained in their joy. Do we laugh like that, even at home? Do we, as adults, find the same joy in little things?

Dad with duckling

Personally, my husband is the only one who can make me laugh until the tears come and the stomach muscles ache. Most people see the gruff, sometimes scruffy guy who doesn’t like being around people. But at home? He makes me laugh.

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I’m sure part of this lack of unrestrained happiness is training. As we get older we absorb all those messages to be quiet, to sit still, to not be disruptive out in public. Another part is that as we age, life is no longer full of new discoveries. I get all that. But I miss the free-flowing laughter.

The episode at the store also got me thinking about laughter in writing. The ways to describe laughing until you ache and can’t breathe versus softer giggles, or the smile on the outside when you’re laughing on the inside. I do that, by the way, when online. Something will be funny but I’ll only laugh on the inside. I have a co-worker that has no shame – who’ll laugh out loud at something she sees on Facebook. Do I get annoyed, feel interrupted, think she’s being disruptive? No. I get up, go see what she’s laughing at, and then laugh, too. Maybe not the cut-loose and let the laugh rip, but I’m still having fun.


The co-worker and her daughter meeting their first Irish Wolfhound

I want children to keep laughing and remind us to do the same. I want to remember how it was when everything was never-before-seen and still full of magic.

And by the way, my son laughed at the store, too. He told me he remembered those times in the shopping cart, and how his dad would make the cart wobble, or sometimes let the cart float free for a few seconds. So at least we keep the memories even when we have learned to be more restrained in public.

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I couldn’t, though, get my son to agree to get back in the cart to see if he still fit.

Arthur, Sorka Barclay Lake

7 thoughts on “Laughter

  1. Such a wonderful, wonderful post. It made my day. Reminds me of the day my brain injured daughter was first able to laugh out loud (before she could talk). She still has a lot of the childlike in her. Your son probably does too … he just doesn’t want to climb in that cart 🙂


    • I just can’t resist when I hear kids laughing. But how much more that joy would have been hearing a laugh for the first time. I imagine that memory will always be one of the best for you.


  2. Its always fun to laugh with you all! There are those times when Art is just hilarious!! Or the dogs…
    I guess the reality of life makes things not as funny anymore, or we heard those things before or we know its actually hurtful, etc… And I guess its different to evey person. There are people who crack up over eveything… lucky for them.

    I love to hear my many children laugh too! It makes me happy, maybe compared to a purring of a cat. I know they are happy when they laugh and I feel good, and like I am doing a good job.

    But you know, I love those silent smiles too. When you remember something funny or fond, a really good memory that makes you so happy you have to smile. Its not thst full on body laugh, but it really makes you happy too.

    Btw, why did you put a picture of your dad in the post but didnt write anything with it?
    Arthur looks so grown up and how do you say, cleaned up nicely in that picture. 😊


  3. I laugh … and apparently loud enough to send my family into “I don’t know her” mode! Movie theaters, grocery stores, public places, my own home … I can’t help it, but I do notice not too many other people get quite as tickled about stuff as I do. I really do try to contain myself, but it sneaks up on me sometimes!


  4. Pingback: This story river – TURKDIRK

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