Saturday, November 20, 2010

******** Laughing is Contagious********

Some of my fondest memories when I was a child was  family dinner night out. Since my mom is such a good cook, it wasn't for the food as much as it was for the adventure.

Usually we would go out to dinner every week on my Mom's only day off. We had a a few favorite places, but one of them was a family style Italian restaurant, called Angelo's. It was one large semi circular room, that almost gave a feeling of being at home.

The tables were round and fairly large, so there weren't allot of them; you know,
 sort of the set-up you would see at a wedding reception. It was the kind of place where you could hear lots of conversations going on at the same time, because it was mostly families with their children in tow.

We have always been a family who spoke around the dinner table, just chatter mostly but bonding none the less. In my family we have what some may call a peculiar family trait; we laugh from nerves. I mean it doesn't sound bad, but we've been known to laugh at funerals, or when someone falls and gets hurt. It definitely raises eyebrows and it is extremely embarrassing and even mortifying at times, but no matter how hard we try it just happens.

So obviously laughter comes easy to the four of us, Mom,Me, Bob and Scott. It's really quite entertaining when something funny happens, because when we laugh we look like the Mary Poppins tea party that took place on the ceiling.

So back to dinner, on several occasions this type of behavior took place on our so called dinner outings,and I must say that in some of those establishments they didn't find the humor in it at all; however, at Angelo's our reputation preceded us with management, and there, we were welcomed with big smiles whenever we arrived.

On this one particular night in question, we were sitting around chatting as usual when my brother Bob pulled one of his usual pranks, I can't really recall the action which started the domino effect, but it was fast and furious. My Mom looked just like Mary Poppins did. She began admonishing us and saying if we didn't stop that instant we were leaving, and of course our laughter then escalated to boisterous proportions.

As she began to wag her finger at us, in hopes to stress the seriousness of her command , she burst out laughing, and that of course led to us laughing harder and louder, and  tears began filling our eyes. My brother Scott slid out his chair so he could bend over and grab his stomach that was now in stitches, and before we could say anything the entire restaurant (literally) began laughing table by table. Then the wait staffs smiles turned into laughter as well, I mean any new comers entering would have turned right around, in fear that laughing gas had been set off somehow.

My Mom was mortified, you would have thought we set the restaurant on fire, but after a few minutes of laughter throughout, it in some way diffused the laughter to just happy smiles all around, and dinner was carried out without further incident.

The point I am making is though that occurred when I was around eleven, we recall that story quite often at holidays and family get togethers, where once again it initiates new laughter amongst the younger generations of the family.

That in itself, brings new smiles to the faces of my Mom and Brothers and I, because seeing my nieces and nephew trying to picture their Dad's as children, out of control with laughter, and not obeying their Mom, is a priceless sight.

So during the upcoming holidays that can cause stress and tension, try and recall a memory of laughter and watch it spread around the table...God Bless and Happy, Healthy, Holidays to you all Patricia VanDenburg©


  1. Thank you Pat...You brought back a flood of great memories. I'm smiling just thinking about the times when Linda,Richie an I would sit down to eat dinner with mom and dad. There were times we would start laughing about nothing... and my dad would get so mad because we just couldn't control our laughing that we would have to leave the table laughing so hard our checks hurt. We would go out to eat at Louie's restaurant and do the same thing...It got to the point we couldn't even look at each other lol...and I think it even happened a few times when you ate over. Thank you for bringing back memories of good times...I really needed that. Love you!

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