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  • bahlulie_julie
    Hello all! I had a really nice experience when I visited my Nanna the other week. Nan is 82 years old, but has retained what is often referred to as a twinkle
    Message 1 of 3 , May 2, 2007
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      Hello all!

      I had a really nice experience when I visited my Nanna the other
      week. Nan is 82 years old, but has retained what is often referred
      to as "a twinkle in her eye" or "that mischievous look." To me, she
      always has a sort of childlike look in her eyes, and loves to laugh
      and joke about, especially at her grandchildren's expense. Her
      wonderful sense of humour is one of her most endearing qualities.

      It was around dinner time when I went to see her, and while she was
      debating whether or not to eat the dinner she had just been served,
      we started to reminisce about `the good old days,' back when my
      brothers and cousins and I were all little children, and would spend
      our school holidays at her tiny unit on Bribie Island, which is just
      an hour and a half north of Brisbane. These were days of complete
      freedom: swimming, biking, napping, eating lollies from the little
      takeaway store down the road, and Nan was free to spoil and indulge
      us without fear of parental backlash… a bygone era of utter bliss!
      We stumbled upon one particular memory that had us laughing so hard
      we cried and woke up one of Nan's roommates, so I thought I'd share
      it. It isn't one I'm likely to ever forget!

      I was about five. One afternoon, my cousin, Tawnee, my Nanna and I
      were all going for a walk down to the shops. Previously, this
      required nothing more formal than a t-shirt and shorts, but for some
      reason, Nan was particularly dressed up in a brand new white cotton
      suit. Naturally a very stately looking woman, the crispness and
      newness of her attire added to the overall air of regal ness about
      her. She had also taken a great deal of care that day in advising my
      cousin and I against wearing our usual outfits of shorts and t-
      shirts, and had directed our tastes towards garments more becoming;
      two blue-and-white dresses that were usually saved for church.

      As the youngest in my family, and in the wider circle of cousins
      (this particular cousin was two months my senior), I was naturally a
      slave to various whims, schemes and often downright naughty plots.
      Being at the time quite timid, I lacked the nous to put a stop to
      what I knew were inevitably disastrous plans, certain to invoke the
      wrath of even the most patient of beings. This was one of those
      times. To be fair, I will never fathom why Nanna chose to dress us
      up so tastefully that day. The walk to the shops was one we usually
      made at least twice a day, and the clothes you wore at home were
      always the ones you wore to the shops. Times were simple. But I'm
      sure Nan had her reasons.

      The first part of our walk passed by uneventfully: we arrived at
      the shops, Nan bought us each an ice cream; we purchased some other
      small items and then left. Nan proposed we walk home along the
      beach. Ready to consent, I opened my mouth to say `yes', when Tawnee
      said innocently "Why don't walk across the road to the park first?"
      Nan agreed, but I remember even at this early stage sniffing danger.
      We walked across to the park, which was really just a tiny
      playground that backed onto a long strip of rainforest and a deep,
      mud-filled gully. You could climb down the grassy banks and, keeping
      to a worn dirt path, follow the gully through the forest for about a
      kilometre or so, as we had often done before. A harmless, gentle

      Predictably, when we reached the park Tawnee requested that we
      climb down the banks and follow the gully through the forest. As we
      descended the bank, I was gripped by an overwhelming sense of
      anxiety, triggered by a child's intuition of knowing when mischief
      is afoot. The anxiety rapidly turned into guilt as I realised I knew
      exactly what was about to happen and wasn't doing a thing to stop
      it. It was only in a matter of seconds before Tawnee gave Nan a firm
      push into the gully, and Nanna, resplendent in her new suit of pure
      white, fell squarely shoulder-deep into a large pool of mud and

      I won't repeat the indignant, nay, enraged splutters emitted by my
      Nanna that afternoon, as she repeatedly reached out her hand to be
      unstuck and was as many times dropped back into the waste amidst
      gales of hysterical, five-year old laughter. I can't adequately
      describe the figure she struck when she finally emerged, small
      patches of brilliant white suit still visible through the mud, and
      lifted her chin defiantly into the air, grabbed us both by the arms,
      scolded us for our naughtiness and marched us home along the beach
      to avoid further public scrutiny.

      Unfortunately, fate saw fit to be in a particularly impish mood
      that day, and no sooner had we removed our shoes and stepped on to
      the sand, then we found ourselves being chased by a vicious
      Doberman, which barked aggressively at us and gave no sign of
      retreating. At the age of five, dogs were my mortal fear, so I
      promptly ran into the ocean, shoes waving wildly above my head, and
      screamed hysterically in fear for my life. The three of us (Nan
      trying to hold on to two five year olds, keep her shoes dry and
      prevent us from all being mauled at the one time) were forced to
      wade waist-deep, or shoulder deep for a five year old, in the rough
      surf for nearly a kilometre until we reached home. The dog was in
      the whitewash the whole time, barking and snapping at us. He must
      have sensed two very naughty children. When we finally arrived home,
      wet, sobbing, filthy and shocked, having made a terrified dash past
      the dog, which still chased us up to the road, Nan discovered she'd
      dropped the unit key somewhere on the beach, and had to run back and
      find it before it got dark…

      Eighteen years later it's still funny. Nan, to her huge credit,
      laughed harder than I did, and says she's never forgotten and will
      never forget that day. I hope I can remain as cheerful and childlike
      when I am her age!

      Sri Chinmoy says about laughter…

      If you take your life
      As a fleeting lightning-laughter,
      Then no black evils
      Can stop the flow
      Of your heart-river.

      (Excerpt from Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 32 by Sri Chinmoy.)


      My louder than the loudest laughter
      Is, indeed,
      One of my life-preservers.

      (Excerpt from Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 1 by Sri

      To read more of what Sri Chinmoy says about laughter, please visit

      Julie :)
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