AMY KIRK: Grandma Gayle’s breadboxA week or so after the funeral, my friend confessed to me that she mistook the wooden box that held my grandmother’s ashes for a beautiful breadbox.
The main theme I try to convey to readers through my columns is to look for the humor in each day, but especially in adversities.
We’re all going to have setbacks, plans that fail, problems that arise at inconvenient times — most likely during calving, haying or harvesting season, and negative news and natural disasters that will strike our livelihood at times.
I believe when we’re faced with unwelcome circumstances, humor can be a coping tool. Even when we are devastated, and we all will be from time to time, humor can be a safeguard from despair.
We may not see anything comical about a hardship at the moment we’re experiencing it, but it is still there, waiting for us to come around to see it’s usefulness in our lives.
I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who have always had the ability to see humor in all things and I’ve noticed that they’re also the people who live a happy, resilient, love-filled life. They’ve reminded me that humor is all around us if we take the time to look for it, acknowledge it and allow it help us get through challenges, and at times, even heal us.
The proof behind my theory that there is always the potential for humor is a story about my longtime florist girlfriend and my Grandma Gayle’s special breadbox. It’s a story my friend and I still laugh about.
The first time she saw the breadbox, it was sitting on my mom’s kitchen counter. My girlfriend had stopped at my folks’ house with a floral delivery and my mom had to answer the phone just as she arrived. While my friend waited she admired the beautiful breadbox sitting on the counter. The wood was satiny smooth and beckoned touching, so my girlfriend felt its smooth top and sides.
Once my mom got off the phone, they began to chat and my friend didn’t get around to complimenting on the breadbox.
A few days later, my florist buddy was sitting down at church when she saw the breadbox in front of the altar, surrounded by funeral flowers for my Grandma Gayle’s memorial service. A week or so after the funeral, my friend confessed to me that she mistook the wooden box that held my grandmother’s ashes for a beautiful breadbox.
Knowing my Grandma Gayle’s delightful sense of humor, I knew in my heart that she would’ve found the incident hysterically funny, because she always found the comical in unusual circumstances regardless of whether the occasion was a somber one or not. I believe my grandmother wanted to be remembered for the things she found uncharacteristically amusing. After initially being mortified that she almost complimented my mom on the beautiful breadbox, my girlfriend saw the humor in her situation.
What I’ve learned most about the challenges and hardships I face is that having a sense of humor is a gentle way to get through it. It’s been 20 years since my Grandma Gayle passed away and I still miss her. I miss her way of finding things that are amusing in serious and somber occasions, embarrassing moments and temperamental situations. I miss her delightful laugh and constant smile, and I think of her whenever I find humor in adversity. She may be gone from my presence but her sense of humor is still alive, because I can never look at a breadbox without wanting to laugh just a little bit.
Amy Kirk and her husband raise their two kids on a fourth-generation cow/calf operation near Pringle. She blogs at ranchwifeslant.areavoices.com.