My father was a great believer in the power of laughter and he really knew how to laugh and see the fun side of life. He lived to the fine age of ninety-one and was well able to laugh right up to the end.
Yesterday, I was out at Woodstown Beach which is near Waterford City and one of the places he often brought us as kids. It was sparkling in the sunshine and reminded me very much of the days we used to go there.
I dropped into the Saratoga Bar, which is beautifully located with great views of the beach, and couldn’t but smile and think of Father when I saw this stone sign hanging on the wall just over the entrance to the kitchen area:
Father made a very conscious effort to surround himself with humour both in the form of people with whom he could share a laugh and books and clippings of humour of all descriptions. He kept scrapbooks for many years during the 1940s and 1950s. These are huge tomes in which he pulled together cuttings relating to local, national and international news which were of particular interest to him. Obviously, much of the material is of a serious nature but there is hardly a page that doesn’t have piece of humour of some description. Leafing through the scrapbooks today, the first page I opened had this cartoon which is so typical!
Father had a huge interest in sport and this is reflected in the scrapbooks. Here is a cartoon from the mid-1950s relating to the great Roger Bannister who was the first man in history to run the mile in under 4 minutes. Only this week he was carrying the Olympic Torch ahead of the London Olympics due to start next week:
I have no doubt whatever that Father would be in full agreement with Christina Rossetti’s sentiments:
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
In fact, I think he would use the word laugh rather than smile!
All this has made me think that we could proabably all do well to make sure that laughter is built into our lives and given the high priority that it undoubtedly deserves.