“The chuckle with which he said this, and the chuckle with which he paid for the turkey, and the chuckle with which he paid for the cab, and the chuckle with which he recompensed the boy were only to be exceeded by the chuckle with which he sat down breathless in his chair again, and chuckled till he cried.”
The women in my family have a problem. We sisters were cursed with it from our mom, who received it from her mom, who we are told also received it from her mom. So it must be a Felker/Sowell/Blake woman trait. We, like others who have this epidemic, often get together and laugh until we cry. Now this sounds beautiful. But let me assure you it’s not. It’s not that cute joyful noise of laughter that is accompanied by a simple tear or a delicate “wipe away your mascara with a white tissue’ cry. We seriously cannot breathe. We laugh so hard that we cry and forget what we were laughing about because we start crying and cannot talk or make a noise. You can’t even hear any laughter. You can’t remember why we started laughing or if it was even funny, because we cannot talk to explain what just happened. Usually this hits one of us and it makes the others start, and then just hold on because it won’t be over soon. And then, only making it worse, when it finally passes no one else thinks whatever it was that got us started was funny. Except, the funny part, is the way we look when it’s all done. We are not pretty laughers and we are not pretty criers, so the combination is the worst.
This is all only to make a few comments about A Christmas Carol that I just finished: One, I loved this book as much as I hoped and thought I would. Two, the Felker/Sowell/Blake girls have been called pretty and been called “Crazy Indians” and these two often go hand in hand..however, when we laugh we only fulfill the latter. Three, I understand dear Scrooge. I understand, thank God, how it feels to be so overcome with joy that you have to chuckle until you cannot breathe because there’s nothing else to do.
We are less than one week from Christmas and I am so overcome with joy and love that I feel like we will all just have to sit in a room and laugh until we cry in order to get this joy out of us. My mom and I drove to Kansas City to finish shopping yesterday. She told me that she can seriously feel my grandparents with her and that it’s such a complete feeling of joy – that it’s an actual physical joy. I agree so many times a day. I feel that it truly is a wonderful disease or epidemic. And that it’s contagious. You only have to be in my mom’s presence, or Seth’s, or Judy’s, or David’s before you catch it. That feeling of being so overcome with joy that you have to let it out somehow. And sometimes all you can do is chuckle till you cry.
Thank God for this contagious joy. And in the next week I pray that we let it happen and don’t worry about not being pretty. One of my favorite Christmas songs says “guide us thy perfect light.” I think of this sort of joy as a perfect light.