Artist’s Lane: Color the day with laughter


By Betty Slade
PREVIEW Columnist

It seems as if everything around me has become too serious. My usual colorful spring days seem pale in comparison to what I expect of the season. I tend to live my life in full color. But even as the trees bud, I find I am missing something. Perhaps it’s the absence of laughter. 

In my world, laughter is like a palette overflowing with colorful paint. It doesn’t matter if it is held up against a winter gray sky or spring crisp blue, laughter has a way of adding a rainbow of dimension to any moment. 

Maybe I am contributing to where I see myself. I have noticed that my articles have also become too serious. So, at the tail end of our two-month isolation, I am ready for my faded legs to see the light of day, and to give a hearty howl.

Our electrician came by to work on a cut power line. Just as I knew to do, I stood 6 feet away and watched him work. I couldn’t help but laugh about the predicament we were in. There he was, down in a hole the size of a swimming pool, dug out by our son while trying to fix a 2-inch water valve. 

I told our son to fix something else, just so I could have another laugh. Besides, paying a repair man for a needless fix has to be more entertaining than being abused by public broadcasting. 

Now, my newest friend, a 77-year-old exercise instructor, shows up with a press of a button on the remote. She trots around the television screen and yells at those on my side of the camera about frozen shoulders and swollen joints. Now that’s funny. How did she know? 

She is constantly asking me if I feel great and feel the burn. I tell her, “No.” Thankfully, she promises that there will be no floor work today. I wonder if it’s because she knows that I will not be able to get back up once I’m down. 

My Sweet Al and I have graduated from Hallmark movies. Either that or we are waiting for all the Christmas shows to begin in July. 

Binge-watching a series has become our new date-night out. I’m on season five of “Poldark” on PBS. Sweet Al is learning all of the tricks of the trade from Eustice on INSP’s “Mountain Men.” We are getting to know these characters so well, I almost feel like we need to have them over for dinner. 

I finally figured out the meaning of stir-crazy. While counting out all the pills and vitamins that my Sweet Al and I are taking every morning, I wonder what would happen if we mixed them all up. 

Like all of our children, our son looks after us. I asked him what he was thinking the other day. He said, “Just living the dream.” He paused, then said, “Did you want me to tell you how painful it is taking care of you?”

Turns out that we are finally getting sweet revenge after all of those midnight telephone calls from when he was a teenager. Now that’s funny. 

I heard something that truly applies to today. “If you want to get to the place that you aren’t, you have to leave the place that you are.”

I never thought we shouldn’t take life seriously. I guess the lesson for me is to keep myself from getting stuck there. And if that means laughing will give me freedom from the day, then listen for my voice all the way out on the Blanco. 

Final brushstroke: There is too much going on not to add a bit of color to a dull day by laughing. Whether we audibly grunt as we walk up a flight of stairs, or have a humorous appreciation for the reality of TV personalities who haven’t seen a bottle of dye or a coiffure in months. Just laugh. 

Readers’ comments

Send your comment to