The Old Fashioned Belly Laugh

    Laughter is good medicine. It really doesn’t heal the heart so much as it relieves the heart. ‘A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down’ is a song we all sang from Mary Poppins. Laughter lowers high blood pressure, cleans the mind and lifts the spirit. Solomon wrote, “Even in laughter the heart may sorrow, and the end of mirth may be grief” (Proverbs 13:14). So, often, even at funerals, we find time to laugh.
    When was the last time you experienced a good old fashioned ‘belly’ laugh? I can remember, as a young boy, watching my Uncle Fred just fall on the floor in laughter. No ‘laugh box’ was needed for the T.V. “Honeymooners” when Jackie Gleason and his crew were on stage. Laughter is just one of the major differences between man and the beast.
    If I were exiled on a barren island and were given the choice of three books from my library, the selection would be easy. I would take the Bible (preferably a New King James Version) with all the helps and references that Kirkbride gives. Next, I would want the largest hymnal produced. And last of all, I would select the 1001 page book, “Ten Thousands Jokes, Toasts and Stories” complied by Faye and Lewis Copeland. The Word of God would hold me spiritually, the hymn book would keep me singing, and the joke book would keep me from going insane.
    Here is a collection of sayings, written statements, and funny words that I have collected through the years. A hearty thanks to those who wrote them, for they were funny then and they are funny now.
    Here are some from church bulletins: “Please place your donations in the envelope along with the deceased person you want to be remembered.” “Attend our special meeting and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a healthy lunch.”
    “Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa, will be speaking at the evening service. Come hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.” “The morning sermon will be “Jesus walking on the water”. Tonight’s lesson will be “Searching for Jesus”. “Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It is a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don’t forget to bring your husbands.” “The peace making meeting scheduled for today will be canceled due to a conflict.” “Don’t let worry kill you off – let the church help.” “Our special guest singer sang, “I will not pass this way again’, giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.” “For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.”
    “There will be a National day of PRAYER AND FASTING. The cost for attending includes meals.” “The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment and gracious hostility.” “One old brother prayer, Lord, bless our preacher who has lit many a spark in our hearts. Help us to water them.” “Low self esteem support group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.”
    “The eighth graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the church basement at 7 PM. All are invited to attend this tragedy.” “The minister will preach his farewell message after which the congregation will sing, “Break Forth in Joy.” “This evening at 7 PM there will be a community sings in the park across from the church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.” “Potluck supper Sunday at 5PM. Prayer and medication will follow.” “Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.”
    “A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the fellowship hall. Music will follow.” “The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.” “One of our sisters is having trouble sleeping. She has requested tapes of our minister’s sermons.” “We congratulate Irving and Jessie who were married on October 24th. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.” “Weight watchers will meet at 7PM in the fellowship hall. Please use the large double door at the side entrance.”
    Typewriters or computers don’t make errors, humans do. The best way to correct your own errors is just to say, “I did it”. When Ann and I were attending a conference in Abilene, Texas, the heavy skies broke open and six inches of rain fell within three hours. As the weather cleared, we got into our car and I headed the wrong way out of the parking lot. Little did I know that the asphalt was all ‘downhill” and before I could stop the car, water was nearly up to the window. Without brakes we began to roll deeper into a flooded area There we were, helpless, with water pouring in from all sides. We looked straight ahead. Then all at once we burst out laughing. Why not? Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone.


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