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Laughter, a storyteller’s day off

I learned something this weekend.  I love to laugh! 

Top pic: That was me to the left many hair colours ago. Below top pic: I am wearing my mom’s old cocktail dress.

Okay I knew that already but I RE-learned it this weekend AND I found out how to sustain the joviality over a three and a half day period! 

It started with a mindset.  

Whatever was niggling at me (my “to do” list, my responsibility to my family, my guilt for wanting some “me” time), I was determined to thwart my adversaries (all in my head of course) and soldier on!

As the long weekend got closer I was insufferable saying at every opportunity, “I can’t wait!”.  Some of you might think that was an invitation for disaster.  Wrong.  I was psyching myself up.  One of the hardest things for me is to take time off.  I am a workhorse.  When you love your work, why would you leave it behind?  I mean I have stories to write.  I have deadlines.  Anybody else feel that way?  

I packed and repacked and packed again.  Being cold does NOT make me happy.  

Gumbo boots, winter coat, heavy socks and something stretchy were essential.  After all, this was the May long weekend in ALBERTA! I was aiming for comfort and practicality. The lipstick was just for show, sweet vanity, and was only used the first day.  Hahaha!  

Snacks. There’s something about having a forbidden treat that makes me almost giddy inside.  

I pulled into the “No Frills” grocery store and got a hefty bag of “not good for you” goodies, a potpourri of glutinous delights!  That’s right, I had a gluten filled weekend and I am admitting it! Wild, I tell ya, I was wild!  

When I got to my friend’s acreage the door swung open and the shrieking began.  Yes, we were screaming and hugging at the doorway. Our voices hit a decibel I couldn’t believe!  That was just the beginning.

There were no planned activities.

That’s right, no agenda!  What followed was a continuous flow of feasting and merriment with no true direction except to celebrate. Friends had come from all over the province, eastern Canada and the states just to join up because over forty years ago we had met in a high school drama studio.  

We spontaneously sang, we teased, we recalled and we savoured our time together. Frequent walks with small side conversations provided beautiful intimate moments one to one where heart to heart we shared.  The wind cleared our heads, the landscape reminded us that the big Alberta sky had space for our hopes, dreams, worries and the fresh air revitalized our constant chatter. 

Most importantly, we laughed at ourselves.  

The stories unfolded of misadventures and life lessons that continue. Sweet vulnerability and humility were cherished commodities in our time together over copious amounts of coffee.  

We ended with tears, hugs and promises of keeping in touch!

When I got home, I had a very sore back.  I will never move like Beyoncé but it was worth a try.  I was tired but you couldn’t wipe the grin off of my very satisfied face.  I had been loved and shared my love with dear friends for an entire weekend.   

I started to think of how this applies to my creative practice and I realized that comedy is hard to replicate.  You gotta let go, trust your instincts, see the absurdity in the everyday world and be ready to respond to it honestly.  The reward? A gale force of guffawing will eventually come your way.

Sweet victory, laughter has come to roost in me.  I shall feed her daily with crumbs of giggles and full meal delights as I respond to this old world with more humour.

To all the Crescent Heights High School Drama Society alumni and Val Pearson, our teacher, thank you for giving me such a beautiful gift!


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