Babies and Cats and Dogs – Oh, my!

I love to laugh. I hope I’m that grandma with laugh lines deeply imbedded in her face (which shouldn’t be hard – I’m well on the way). Obviously it’s not always appropriate to laugh, but sometimes those can be the times when it’s hardest not to. Like during communion when your grandma drops her little plastic cup and it bounces its way across the sanctuary (and bounces and bounces…), pinging off the granite floor in the silence.

Or during a sermon on a summer morning, when the sun reflects off the floor and makes a giant silhouette image of a friend of yours on the back wall (and they don’t know they’re bigger than life).

Or trying to be solemn while assembling for a graveside service right after someone comments about the Rolloff family being buried at the top of the hill (they had noticed the marker of someone buried long ago in that tiny town’s cemetery).

I have a file of “Keepers” in my inbox where I store emails people have sent that struck me particularly funny. More than once I’ve opened it and read a few – sure enough, I was soon smiling and feeling better.

Here are a few YouTube links that I hope will make you laugh today. Who can NOT laugh when a baby lets loose with that adorable belly laugh? Or when twins crack themselves up (and leave us out of the fun!)?

Even if you don’t like cats or dogs, it’s hard not to giggle at the predicaments they get themselves into or when they share a special talent.

Life can be pretty rough on occasion. I thank our God for laughter (He must have a sense of humor – He created the hippopotamus, after all!).

Cats and Squirrels and Rats, Oh My

Animal stories always make me laugh, so here’s mine. Once upon a time, my son had a tiny nursery. He quickly outgrew it, so we moved him into a bigger bedroom and I got the tiny nursery as my office. 10’ by 10’ all mine. 100 square feet closed off from the rest of the house with a working door.

I painted my office my favorite thistle shade—a retired Crayola color—a mix of pink and lavender. I put up seashell wallpaper border, made curtains and cushion covers for my white wicker furniture using pastel seashell fabric, and displayed all the seashells I’ve collected over the years. It was perfect.

Until I decided that since it was my office, my two outdoor charcoal gray cats should be able to come in. It was my 100 square feet and I could share it if I wanted to. Right? Hubby even agreed and installed a cat door. Since they’d always been outdoor cats, they were used to going outside to do their business. What could possibly go wrong?

Nothing did for a while. They understood that the vast outdoors was their bathroom. They spent their days with me while I wrote and prowled or slept at night.

Smokey—my scaredy cat—was no problem. She huddled thankfully under the wicker couch and I never saw her go out. But everything smelled okay, so I knew she did. Charcoal prowled all night, came inside in the morning, ate and slept the day away.

Until one morning after everyone left and I heard something in my office.

I opened the door and something flew by my head about eye level. I searched the shelves and saw a flying squirrel. I didn’t even know we had those in Arkansas. Charcoal was in stalk mode and the poor squirrel flew all over my office. I learned they not only live in Arkansas, but they’re very fast.

I stuffed Charcoal out the cat door and locked it, found thick gloves, and pursued the squirrel. They’re really fast. That squirrel perched on all eight shelves and every time I’d reach for him, he’d fly in my face and land on another shelf, my desk, the wicker, or the curtains.

After about forty-five minutes or so, I wore him down. He started running instead of flying and I learned that flying squirrels run even faster than they fly. He finally ran in the end of a 3 ring binder notebook. I clamped a gloved hand on each end, but I couldn’t open to the door with no hands.

So, I quickly stood the notebook on the floor closing off one hole, then shook the poor squirrel up. He came running up right into my hand and I had him. He bit my thick glove and squealed all the way out the back door—where the cat wasn’t—and to the woods behind our house.

Charcoal treated me to three more flying squirrel capers and I learned there are at least four where I live, they are all very fast, but you can catch them with thick gloves once you tire them out. I guess my great gray hunter got bored with squirrels, so he brought me a rat instead. I didn’t know we had rats that big in Arkansas. I propped the cat door open, screamed and hopped around on the wicker furniture, and poked at the beast with a yard stick until it scurried out the door.

That was it. The cat door got sealed off. Charcoal and Smokey got their gray butts kicked out. Even though poor Smokey was innocent, she now huddles under the house and Charcoal lives in the shed.

But during the day, when nobody’s home, I make sure Charcoal doesn’t have any guests and let them in. Shhh!!!

The Wreck – No Really, It’s Funny

Nothing funny has happened in my world lately. And boy could I use some laughter. I decided to share a funny thing that happened several years ago.

It began with a thud and screaming in the night. We live on a sharp curve and several wrecks have happened in front of our house over the years. It doesn’t sound funny. But bear with me, everyone was okay.

My husband got the flashlight and trekked across the field between our house and the two lane highway. 

I stood on the porch waiting to hear if I should call for an ambulance. Only one set of headlights meant a one car accident. Relief.

“Oscar! Oscar!” I heard my husband yell.

Our weenie dog, Oscar was safe in the house. But he was yapping. His yapping always drove my husband nuts. I went in the house and shushed him. But he kept on.

I stepped back outside. “Should I call an ambulance.” 

“No. Everyone’s okay. Oscar! Oscar!”

My goodness. There was a lot of commotion going on. Give the poor dog a break. I stepped inside and picked him up, then stepped out on the porch holding him. Every once in a while, he’d yap. I shushed him and Grant did too from the road.

A teenage girl came to the house and used the phone to call her dad. She said everyone was okay, just shook up, but they couldn’t get the truck started. 

She went back out and I could still hear Grant yelling at Oscar every once in a while. His yapping had gotten pretty intense while the girl was in the house. I shushed him again. 

Finally, I could see the flashlight coming across the field. Grant emerged from the darkness holding Oscar.

But I was holding Oscar.

“Where’d you get that one?” We echoed each other. 

Realization dawned—the weenie dog he held had been in the wreck. We laughed until tears rolled.

“What do I do with this one?” Grant managed between bouts of hilarity.

“Take it back and give it to them.”

 He nonchalantly walked back out to the road and said, “Here’s your dog. I caught it for you.”

“Oh Bridgette. Are you okay?” The teenage girl grabbed her dog.

The father came and took his family home.

We went inside and discussed the evening.

Grant had been checking for injuries making sure everyone was okay when something brushed against his ankle. He shined the flashlight and saw Oscar. From that moment on, he forgot about the people, knowing that if my baby got hit by a car, I’d never recover.

He pursued Oscar with everything he had. But Oscar ran—circles around the family in the wreck. Grant wove in and out between them, scolding Oscar

“Is my arm bleeding?” The woman grabbed for his light.

“I don’t know. I’ve got to get that dog.”

When he finally caught Oscar, he bit Grant’s thumb. Grant spanked Oscar and headed to the house. Where he met me—holding the real Oscar. 

The more we talked about it, the more hysterical we became. What did that family think? Grant chased their dog, called it by the wrong name, caught it, spanked it, and took off with it. Then brought it back.

And what about poor Bridgette? She was already traumatized from the wreck and then a madman she didn’t know got after her.

Whenever we need a good laugh, we tell this story. I even won a few short story contests with it.

In memory of Oscar Mayer Weiner: July 1984 – July 1995. He lived a long, happy life and left paw prints on my heart.