Saturday, July 31, 2010

Make Me Laugh

This evening I watched Julie and Julia with my mother-in-law. She gave us a scare this week when her blood pressure shot up. After bringing her home from the hospital, resting, and making her dinner, it was nice to enjoy a chick flick…just the two of us.

When I was a kid, Julia Child’s TV show was common entertainment in our house. I don’t know why it appealed to my sisters and me, but it did. There was something about the combination of food, her personality, and the sound of her voice that made us tune in…and want to imitate her.

There were many nights when we were young that all of us girls would pile into one bed. I remember a time in particular that mom pushed the twin beds together in Susan and my room so that we had one king-size bed. Casy, the oldest, had her own room (with her own bathroom!) and Lisa, the baby, had her own room (with horrible pastel-striped shag carpet) while Susan and I shared a large room between them.

Our favorite bedtime game was one that we made up. It was called, “Make Me Laugh.” One of us would stand at the end of the bed and try to make the rest of us laugh. Whoever laughed first went next. We told dumb jokes, sang goofy songs, acted like clowns, and Susan would pretend to be Julia.

She had the imitation nailed! But what really made it funny was Susan’s own little twist. As Julia, Susan would pretend to steal nips from the cooking sherry. If you’ve ever heard Julie Child’s unique voice, it’s easy to imagine it belonging to someone who is half inebriated. Susan would really play it up…and, oh, we would laugh.

Right before Lisa went into the Navy, we all met in Hugoton to spend time with Dad and Mom. While there we went in to Raycolor to get a “sister” picture taken. As we were driving back out to the house that afternoon in dad’s pickup, Susan spoke up, “Those pictures aren’t going to be very good.” Casy asked, “What? Why not?” Susan’s response was, “Well, I didn’t smile.” We were all confused. Casy asked, “Why didn’t you smile?” None of us will never forget Susan’s answer. As serious as a heart-attack she said, “They didn’t say anything funny.” A moment of dead silence passed as we all processed this bit of information, and then the three of us burst out laughing. It is one of our favorite private jokes.

Apparently the years of making each other laugh spoiled Susan. Maybe we should’ve given her a few nips of cooking sherry first.

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