A Better Day [first posted April 7, 2012]
Thankfully, Friday’s visit to Dad was without Tuesday’s anniversary angst. Though Friday wasn’t one of his more responsive days, his eyes did brighten when my chatter turned to family stories. The words “You used to …” or “We kids used to …” evoked smiles, if not actual memories. Friday he didn’t seem to recognize me, so I even added a few “You and Mom used to …” phrases to give him further frame of reference. As always, when I played his music tapes, he smiled and gyrated his hands to the music. I thought about his anniversary earlier this week, but no tears came. I was just there to bring a few moments of joy, so delight being with Dad was uppermost in my heart.
The day even held some tears of laughter for me. My mom, my sister Joan, and I played Bananagrams because I was too intimidated by their linguistic litheness to play Scrabble with them. Their Scrabble playoff match (I’m serious) was scheduled for later Friday anyway, so the best I could do was warm them up with a few rounds of Bananagrams. After each round, we’d inspect, admire, and sometimes giggle at each other’s words. This reminded Joan of a Simpsons episode where Lisa’s brainiac rival and she were challenged to rearrange letters of a person’s name into an anagram describing that person. Lisa’s rival was given Alec Guinness and immediately came up with genuine class. Then Lisa was given Jeremy Irons; her lame anagram was jeremys iron. The three of us laughed till the table shook.
Even though I was likely the only one at the table who felt how Lisa Simpson felt, Joan’s story had warmed me up for more humor therapy. Driving home, I chuckled at the totally serious No More Head Lice billboard I passed. At home, a full apron to protect my church outfit did not help when I splattered grease all the way up onto my shoulder. Uncharacteristically, I found that funny, as well as getting hiccups right before our somber Good Friday service at church. Reverence replaced hiccups just in time for me to be deeply touched anew by Christ’s sobering, life-giving death. But on this particular Good Friday, I had also needed a lighter touch, and God provided that as well.