Learning with laughter

Thanks for the Memory

February 22nd, 2010

Any woman who knows the steep slippery slopes of Vancouver’s North Shore, also knows that high heels and icy sidewalks don’t go together.

We’ve all had those experiences when something very serious happens and you can’t stop laughing. This can be a problem as it eventually enlists the participation of the bladder!

It was December, Mum and I, full of Christmas spirit, our ears ringing with carols headed home laden with shopping. The bus swung into our stop by a puddle, dumped us off, and then pulled away. Whoosh, a tidal wave of icy sludge swamped us. 70 year old devout Christian women have never been given credit for the way they can raise foul mouthed language to an art form!

Surprised, my feet skidded away from me and I landed in an inelegant heap. Stooping over me Mum said “Take my hand”.  Humiliated, feeling like an oversized, over-dressed child, I allowed her to pull me up, when suddenly my spiked heel got caught in a drain and snapped off. I lost my balance, grabbed her leg and we started to slide down the icy sidewalk like those naughty men who lie on top of each other in the Olympics! Except we were head to toe!

Eventually Mum rolled off and assumed a “British Army” posture. Erect, Unflappable. However, I detected a slight twitch at the corner of her mouth which suggested she was amused by our antics. Stiff upper lip in place, she said, “Come on Catherine, let’s crawl”. Reluctantly, I joined her in “toddler mode.” We’ve all been in a bizarre situation, when suddenly everything seems funny.  Suddenly I imagined us like sheep with short legs! Giggling, I said “Mum, we could audition for a nativity play!”  “Baaah!” Mum echoed an even louder “Baaah” and we started to laugh.
As in many situations where daughters try to take command, mothers always assume control. In this case, approaching the house, I attempted to stand up, trying to regain my adult status once again. “Take my hand, Mum”. Caught up in the moment, I forgot, I only had one spiked heel to walk on. I stumbled. Mum grabbed me and said “Use your heel like a pick axe, Catherine”. Lurching home, clinging to each other, doubled over with laughter, we were barely able to walk in a straight line.

Hearing the laughter, a smiling husband greeted us at the front door. A bewildered expression spread over his face trying to comprehend what he was witnessing. Here was his mother- in- law wet, dirty but deliriously happy who appeared to need support from his giggling wife.  “Ladies, I thought you were shopping, not mud wrestling!”

Every time I drive up that steep hill in North Vancouver I smile and a tear comes to my eye as I recall Mum’s reflection about that afternoon. “Catherine, I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time.” 

Always remember as you age, life will throw out many challenges to overcome, but laughter and memories shared with family is the glue that brightens your days and keeps us together during the tough times. Don’t ever forget that! She went off to bed humming the song, ”Thanks for the memory.”

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