(100) 'Laughter And The Glad Game'

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Ken
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(100) 'Laughter And The Glad Game'

Ken
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This post was updated on .
Recently my granddaughter Emma was visiting and we watched an old Disney film together.  it was made in 1960 and was called, 'Pollyanna,' and it starred the adorable actress, Hayley Mills.  Pollyanna was a young orphan who came to live with her rich and stern aunt in a a small New England town.  She found the mood of its inhabitants to be rather downcast and so, by using her own zest for life, she gradually changed the attitude of everyone else's lives.  She kept quoting what she called, "The Glad Game," and her philosophy was, however bad things seem to be, you can always find something to be glad about.  I've tried to do that all my adult life and I'll continue to play, 'The Glad Game,' but it isn't always easy.  It's hard to play when you lose a loved one and I know how hard its been for my nieces, Teresa and Alison, after the loss of their dad.  It must be nigh on impossible for my sister Violet to be anything but sad at this moment but in time this will change.  Soon she'll look back on the sixty one years she and Steve were happily married and she'll be grateful for that time together.  She'll smile as old memories surface and she'll share them with those closest to her.  Teresa, Alison, her sister Phyl and her four grandsons will listen and add memories of their own and the pain will ease for them all.  As she quietly reflects on her life, Violet may not realise it, but she'll be playing her own version of what Pollyanna called with childhood enthusiasm, 'The Glad Game.'  Being glad for all that's been good in ones life is a wonderful game to play!

This is the one hundredth memory I've written since my son Morgan set up 'Kens Cosy' for me.  Those one hundred stories show every aspect of my personality and I've not hidden the truth. I've been tender and tough and ridiculously egotistical in some of my pondering's and I've admitted to many stupidities. I have laughed at my mistakes and in doing so I reveal what is my greatest asset, and that is my ability to laugh. They say that laughter is the best medicine so that's what these memories will be mainly about.  I'll start in the early 1970's in a nightclub in North street, Guildford.  Jenny and I were there with Chris and Sue Bushell and I was people watching.  I saw someone who considered himself a hard man walk in with his entourage and he stopped at the swing doors just inside the club.  Just like a gunfighter in a B movie western film, the 'Hard Nut' stood and surveyed the scene before him.  The dance floor, the dining area and all those gathered, felt the force of his cold penetrating gaze.  His eyes met mine and then he turned and walked to the bar where he ordered his drinks as his entourage split and stood equally on either side of him.  They talked and he glared at me and then he started to walk towards us and I said quietly to my friends, "I bet he hasn't noticed the step."  He hadn't, and as he fell flat on his face with his beer splashing all and sundry, I began to laugh, pure unrestrained laughter erupted from my throat.  Laughter is contagious and, all around me, others laughed too.  Poor old 'Hard Nut' arose, looking embarrassed, and just slunk off as the laughter continued to rise in volume. What a grand way to start our evening out.

Another laughter filled evening got me in big trouble with Jenny.  It took place shortly after we had moved to Wales and it occurred in the December of 1986.  We'd just arrived for some sort of festive entertainment show at Kathryn's school and past experience had told us we in for a dire time.  The policy of the school was that every announcement should be made in both the Welsh and English language and this took forever.  I'd arrived to find that chairs were in such short supply that they'd borrowed some from the infant school.  This resulted in, the twenty stone, me sitting in an overcrowded school hall on a chair designed for an eight year old.  The hall was crammed full of proud parents and grandparents and I estimated that there were in excess of a thousand adults, adoringly watching the children perform. They were obviously enjoying themselves but, the trouble was, I wasn't.  I amused myself by what is called, 'Ethology,' or the study of human behaviour, its a fascinating hobby when you're bored out of your mind.  As I sat there on that ridiculous little chair, I saw two groups of late comers arrive.  I saw them frown when they found few available seats and I watched them go chair hunting.  Nothing was done with evil intent, but one of the new arrivals spotted an empty seat to sit on and, as he did so, another late comer moved it to where he wanted to sit. I watched the result as this poor chap, attempted to sit on the seat that was no longer there, then fell to the ground with a startled shout.  I immediately started to laugh, and laugh, and laugh. so much it was hurting me, but my beloved wife, Jenny, wasn't laughing!  

The activities on the stage stalled as people all turned to see what had happened and I continued to laugh. Jenny said I was red faced with my suppressed chortles as the man arose from the floor and the volume rose as he angrily shouted at the one who'd moved the chair.  I was wearing a shirt and tie and I recall the shirts top button shooting off such was my merriment, but Jenny wasn't amused.  "The whole schools watching you," she said, and I realised that they were.  Parents were staring, the headmaster was glaring, and still I bloody laughed, I just couldn't stop.  I finally regained control of myself and the dire performances resumed. Every announcement continued to be made, first in Welsh, and then in English, and the evening dragged on and on.  I sat there on my stupid little chair and, in my boredom, I made a terrible mistake, I relived in my mind all that had occurred earlier.  It was like watching part of a movie in slow motion as once again I saw the events unfolding.  The trouble was, when I got to the part when the poor chaps backside hit the floor, I started laughing again, and I don't mean a quiet chuckle.  I was off again, with the out of control booming laugh that I once possessed and I'm told it turned heads in my direction.  I was still laughing when a cross Jenny decided to lead me out of the hall and out of the school.  Without doubt, it was the best nights entertainment I'd ever had!

In the late 1980's, my brothers Len and Bob, were visiting us and the three of us were introduced to the Yugoslavian chair of Gwynn Richards.  Gwynn was the popular landlord of the Lock and Key and he was proudly sitting in his new seat when we entered his excellent pub.  His greeting was in his usual friendly manner as he arose and went to serve us.  "Evening Bob, evening Len, evening Ken," he said, he never used the phrase, "Evening all," for Glynn liked to make everyone feel special.  As he pulled our pints, he invited us to try out his new chair, "Its made with wood from the forests of Yugoslavia," he informed us, "built to last by their finest craftsmen."  He continued to enthuse, telling us it had arrived that very day and it had cost him a fortune.  We politely showed some interest in what was a fine looking chair of the carver variety.  "Larger than the average chair and sturdy, perfect for someone like you Ken," he informed us.  He invited us to try it out but I declined, explaining my reputation for breaking things.  I informed him the last time I'd been in Bobs home, he'd forbidden me from sitting in his new chair.  As the evening progressed every customer was invited to try out the, "made to last, Yugoslavian chair," and most did.  Apart from then, it was Gwynn's backside that inhabited it in its pride of place position in front of the blazing coal fire.

If they'd kept to a closing time the pub would have been closed when big Dai arrived.  He arrived late, straight from whatever farm work he'd been doing and, as usual, he was filthy.  I'd never had a proper conversation with big Dai, but I had learned to never stand downwind of him.  However Gwynn made everyone feel welcome and, as he handed Dai his pint, he to was invited to try out the chair that was, "built by Yugoslavia's finest craftsmen."  Dai did so and there he remained, comfortable and quietly enjoying his well earned pint.  It was very late by this time and there were only half a dozen or so customers remaining when Dai got up and decided to order another pint.  The disaster occurred when he sat back down again and it began with a puzzling creaking sound, which made all eyes turn to look at Dai. What followed was a huge crack and bang and then the complete disintegration of the built to last chair, and a stunned looking Dai was suddenly laid flat out on the floor. His beer had mostly spilt over his head and he was surrounded with the pieces of wood that had once been part of Gwynn's Yugoslavian pride and joy.  

The roar of laughter that erupted from Len and Bob was both inappropriate and loud, as loud, perhaps, as the laughter gushing from my lips.  A shell shocked Gwynn just stood and stared vacantly at the remains of his shattered chair.  A still stunned Dai, continued to just lay there amongst the debris that surrounded him, and we, the Tuffs brother's continued to laugh.  We laughed, on and on, uncontrollably so, and even though Len attempted to apologise for our bad manners, spluttering, he failed to get the words out.  Bob, with tears running down his cheeks, managed to mumble the occasional, "I'm sorry," but the laughter continued, until my sides were aching with mirth.  Gwynn meanwhile, was walking amongst the broken parts and kicking them, as he repeatedly uttered the words, "F*cking Yugoslavia!"  Dai was unhurt but, like a rabbit caught in a cars headlights, he made no attempt to move.  He just lay there, looking confused and somehow comfortable, and this fuelled our laughter even more.  Of course in time Dai did get up, and Gwynn stopped playing football with the chair parts, and we, the Tuffs brothers finally regained control. But laughter of that level hurts like hell and, for a time, I feared that one of us would, truly, die laughing.

I'm happy I can always find something to laugh about, even though all the above memories involved some poor sod falling flat on his back.  I hope they brought a smile to your face.  I also hope it won't be long before my sister Violet will once again find herself smiling, and even laughing, as she echo's young Pollyanna's attitude to life.  It makes such good sense for us all to sometimes play, 'The Glad Game!'
Ken
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Re: (100) 'The Glad Game'

Ken
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This post was updated on .
However bad things seem to be, there are always things to be glad about, things that can make you laugh. During a recent family loss I recalled these memories that I knew would make me smile, for laughter is often the best medicine!