Monday, July 7, 2014

We Laugh until We Cry

My brother called last night. I could hear his smile through the phone. Things are going well for him, and that makes me happy. His family has seen their share of trials, but he told me things are looking up. I asked him what was different.

"My attitude," he replied. That's Danny. Leave it to him to distill the essence of a happy life after a long series of difficult situations. He makes me smile. 

Before long, after we'd updated each other on the recent events of our summers, Danny started chuckling, which meant I was going to be laughing my butt off before our conversation ended. I can always count on him to make me laugh.

Daddy started the Beidler laugh, in my recollections, but maybe his dad or granddaddy is where he got it from. Whenever Dad would tell a joke, his eyes would survey the room, making sure he had everyone along for the ride, and then they would flash as he led up to the punchline. His face would break into a grin, and he would have to pause right before he delivered the ending, to keep himself from laughing. Once the punchline was successfully delivered, his laughter would fill the room, and the rest of us would follow suit. It's an infectious thing. Once we Beidlers start laughing, it's hard to stop. Doubled over, falling into each other on the couch or standing around, tears streaming down our cheeks; we would laugh so hard our bellies hurt. Once we would recover, all it would take is for someone to make eye contact with another, and the whole thing would start again.

We have a silent version of the Beidler laugh, too. This is useful in solemn occasions, like events that take place in a church. Oh, my word...just thinking of Dad leaning forward, establishing eye contact in a very pointed way to let you know he noticed whatever irreverent thing we Beidlers find humorous, and the silent laughter would begin. Shoulders would shake, eyes would squint shut with the effort of not making a sound, all the while, facing forward to avoid looking at each other. Then the tears would begin. Laughing until we cry is our specialty.

When our stepmom talked to Danny recently, Jackie told Dan that she missed hearing the Beidler laugh. I smiled at the memory. The Beidler laugh is something I miss, too.

My brothers are good joke tellers, just like Dad, as long as they can stop laughing long enough to finish the story. Get the two of them together, and laughter is sure to follow.

When Danny and I were talking last night, we were laughing so hard, I couldn't even understand half of what he was telling me. There I was on my couch by the window (the only place I get good phone reception here at Green Acres, unless I want to climb the telephone pole out in the yard...) I was laughing; Danny was laughing. I had no idea what he was even saying half the time; we were both doubled over on our phones.

That's what happens whenever Beidlers get together. Dan was giving his best impression of the comedian John Pinette. I had heard him before, but I liked Danny's version even better, probably because he was laughing so hard.

Here's Pinette's version of the story. I wish I had a video of Danny's telling it; it's even funnier to me. 
What a great way to end a weekend. I'm already looking forward to next Sunday's phone call from my little brother...

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