Cheerfulness removes the rust from the mind, lubricates our inward machinery, and enables us to do our work with fewer creaks and groans. If people were universally cheerful, there wouldn’t be half the quarrelling or a tenth part of the wickedness there is.
Cheerfulness, too, promotes health and morality.
Cheerful people live longest here on earth, afterward in our hearts.
– Author Unknown
If I were to name two people who answer this description, one alive and another who has moved on to the world of eternal cheerfulness they would have to be:
Not two but three people have marked my life and outlook forever.
My Maternal Granny lived in Dublin, a bus journey away from us. She was a regular visitor to our home and immediately made for the kitchen or wherever she heard the voices. The mood became much brighter with her arrival and she always had colourful tales to tell from her journey on the bus, a visit to Town or of relations who had called to see her. Granny saw the lighter side in any situation and regularly saved us from a scolding. She used laughter to help make painful experiences a whole lot more tolerable.
We often stayed with her during school holidays. She loved going to the Cinema and regularly took us a matinee showing at the Green Cinema. It has long gone now, replaced by the St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre. The first film I remember from those days was Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.
Granny’s house seemed so much quieter than ours, but then there were only two people in it in those days. The youngest of her sons was unmarried at that time and he was either at work or out with his friends. She would send me up to open his bedroom window when he had gone to work and when I was half way up the stairs she would call out to me “Don’t be looking at those Dirty Books!” This was always followed by a hearty chuckle. Copies of ‘Men Only’ were scattered in bundles all over his room. Naturally I had to take a look at what I was not supposed to see. I am sure by today’s standards they would be considered very tame. Do they still print them?
I remember one day at the lunch table the conversation turned to ‘Wooden Legs’! We must have talked about my Paternal Grandfather because he had a wooden leg! He died when my father was eleven so I never knew him or saw his wooden leg. I was young enough at that time to be a little wary of having a ‘wooden leg’ at close quarters. Granny not to be outdone told me that she had one, it was in the coal shed and after lunch she would let me see it! Sticking close to her skirts we headed out to the coal shed. It was dark inside and there was no light. She ventured into the shadows and lifted something rather heavy from along the back wall. I was ready to scarper as she walked towards me with the leg. “Now do you believe?” she asked and she placed a beautifully carved table leg in front of me! Oh Yes! She laughed heartily for hours afterwards.
Jack the love of my life. We are back to wooden legs again! He was a Burma Veteran. I have talked about this part of his life in earlier Podcasts called Our John Chapter 1 & Chapter 2 in March this year. He had a badly injured leg and walked with a slight limp. In fact he mastered it so well it was more like a skip! He always referred to it as his ‘wooden leg’. He had such a positive attitude to life, his bottle was always half full. No matter what dreadful thing I did he would say “Ah sure it is not as bad as a bad marriage!” He found fun and laughter in all we did. Our 21 years together passed like a short weekend.
Helen, a friend I met on holiday in Spain the month before Elly started nursery school. Helen and her husband were holidaying away from their children for the very first time. Helen’s strong maternal instinct drew her to Elly. We discovered over the few days that we shared many interests. We became instant friends I was really drawn to Helen by her infectious laughter. It was impossible to be in her company for longer than five minutes without vibrating with laughter.
Helen’s life was crossed by many health complications over the years, but she never let this fact get her down. She is a true friend and when we talk or meet up the conversation flows without the gap of the weeks or months since we last spoke. There is one thing sure when I finish a phone call to Helen I feel like I have had a couple of weeks in the sunshine.
Remember: You don’t stop laughing because you grow old; you grow old because you stop laughing.
Now it is your turn…