November 19, 2010

Faithful Lines / Shirley Vogler Meister

Light-hearted laughter is such a blessing

Shirley Vogler MeisterIn my previous column, I shared some experiences that my husband, Paul, and I, my sister, Beverley, and her husband, John, had while vacationing in the West this autumn.

At the end of that column, I mentioned how my sister marveled at how much we laughed during our trip.

The laughter was wonderful, possibly spurred by the fact that—for most of the time we were away—we were “footloose and fancy free.” We didn’t set out on our more than 4,000-mile trip with laughter in mind. It just happened!

Not that we were spared some concerns. The two main problems were my many hours of dealing with a formidable nosebleed. John, unfortunately, fared worse. He developed serious altitude sickness.

Both situations were dealt with well. At some point, we will probably be able to laugh about those challenges even though they were not funny at the time.

Yes, we laughed a lot everywhere that we went. On the evening of our first stay in Branson, Mo., we attended the “Shoji Tabuchi Show” across the street from our hotel.

The violinist is a Japanese-American musician known for spectacular productions that include other phenomenal musicians and dancers. Also important is that the shows have a Christian tone, and they are appropriately funny for all ages.

What a happy audience we were—laughing and laughing and laughing!

We laughed everywhere except one place—the Prison Museum we toured in Canon—pronounced “canyon”—City, Colo. During a self-guided tour, we learned somber facts about prison life, past and present.

Despite the somber atmosphere at the prison, most other experiences were light-hearted or hilarious!

However, at one restaurant, Paul and I had no problem paying our bill, but Bev and John fared worse. They were told they owed much more—even though we ate similar inexpensive food. The cashier insisted that Bev and John’s bill was nearly double! Calmly and repeatedly, they corrected the young man’s math, but it took him a very long time to “get it.”

We laughed all the way to our nearby motel.

We thank God that we enjoyed humor and laughter all along our way!

Also, coincidentally, after Paul and I returned home, we found in our mail a Christian publication that promotes “holy humor”—another wonderful and always enjoyable issue of The Joyful Noiseletter.

Editors Cal and Rose Samra, former residents of Indianapolis who now live in Portage, Mich., publish it. The first page shares Psalm 98:4: “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the Earth.” (For information about the newsletter, log on to

After returning home, I was reminded by a Quaker friend that I had promised to present a poetry program at a First Friends meeting in October. My program topic was “Humorous Poetry—Vintage and Modern.”

(Shirley Vogler Meister, a member of Christ the King Parish in Indianapolis, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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