Sophie Says: Find the light side of things

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Gramps Says
Among the assorted qualities that women look for in a man, a sense of humor stands out as the most frequently listed on surveys that I have read. It seems the ability to find the light side of things is a sought after virtue. 

Have you noticed that most people who live very long lives tend to be lighthearted? My aunt Claire Engel who lived 97 years was always ready with a humorous quip or story. My great grandmother Ruth May Fox who passed in her 105th year was quick witted to the end. 

I wonder how many people are like me when opening a new Readers Digest. The first thing I do is turn to Humor in Uniform, Laughter is the best Medicine, Life in These United States and the other humorous columns. Likewise with the New Yorker, I start at the back and thumb forward looking for the cartoons. 

Some people who create humor become household names and are often very well paid. Bob Hope as an example had a team of good writers but he was a master of delivery. One of the best humorists was Johnny Carson who made spontaneous responses during an interview that would bring down the house.  Neither of these artists needed to use vulgarity or crudity to get a laugh. 

Will Rogers favored political comments like: “I don’t make jokes; I just watch the government and tell the facts, “and “There’s no trick to being a humorist when you’ve got the whole government working for you.” Will Rogers would have a field day today. 

A few days ago a reporter asked our current president if he was worried that his supporters at a political rally were not wearing masks. His retort was, “No, the podium is well spaced from the crowd.” That was a factual comment delivered with a straight face and there was stunned silence.  Now, if Reagan had said the same thing with his broad grin, it would have gotten a good laugh. You can see there is a very delicate line.  

We have our own brand of humor here in Winters. In the last column I made mention of the excellent condition of the cemetery grounds. I received a thank you from Joe Bristow of the Board of Trustees along with a few bits of trivia that helps to lighten up the somber tone of the surroundings. For instance, when turning in on Cemetery Road you are met by a triangular yellow sign reading DEAD END. It is posted on the cemetery gate after closing time. Mention was also made of a partial inscription on the cremation monument that reads, HERE LIES THE REMAINS OF THE BUTCHER, THE BAKER WITH NO ROOM FOR THE CANDLESTICK MAKER. By way of explanation, Joe was a butcher when he worked at Raleys where he met his future wife Jeanne who worked as a decorator in the bakery.

Sophie Says
Joe told me, “Remember the reason I have to lock the gate every night. People are dying to get in.”

Dogs are now allowed on the cemetery roadways if on a leash. But I’m not dying to get in.

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