Daddy in his military uniform on a suspension bridge in beautiful Tenn., where he was stationed during WW II as a military policeman at a German POW camp.
Daddy in his favorite attire, a pair of Liberty brand overalls, sturdy work boots and a cap, sitting in his favorite piece of furniture, his recliner.
My daddy always said, “A little laughter in life.” Daddy didn’t always have a lot to laugh about. His mother was a semi-invalid from the time he was a toddler, leaving the help to more or less raise him, while his father was a tyrant of the “do as I say and not as I do” variety. Daddy almost lost an arm and did lose portions of two fingers in a sawmill accident as a teen. He had to work so hard on the farm–in spite of the fact my grandfather had enough farm hands to require his own company store and to labor in the fields, cotton gin and the saw mill–that my daddy ended up dropping out of high school. His home burned down not too long after that.
During infantry training during WWII, he suffered a nasty bayonet injury that had him hospitalized once more. He worked long, hard hours mining iron ore, planting fields, baling hay, and tending to tens of thousands of chickens so he could provide for his family. It was not an easy life.
Being able to laugh and joke and see the funny side of it all helped my daddy through some of the darker patches. Maybe those of us who have struggled and known hardships and sorrows also most appreciate the relief and release smiles and laughter can bring.
Richard Armitage is someone who seems to understand the value of laughter, of having a strong sense of humor and the ability to let one’s playful side come out. He takes his work seriously; himself, not so much, I suspect. The mischievous twinkle in those blue eyes, the teasing smiles, the geeky giggles, the big guffaws from deep in that well-toned belly–the sheer infectious joy he can spread when we see and hear him share “a little laughter in life” is a wondrous thing.
He hasn’t experienced some of the misfortunes that befell my father, but I am certain Richard’s had his share of personal and professional disappointments, rejections and heartaches (his characters certainly have!). Hooray that he is garnering attention and accolades and going from strength to strength these days. Yet he’s never become too full of himself nor has he forgotten the gift of good humor.
I hope wherever you are today, you are able to find comfort, and release, joy and peace through “a little laughter in life.” My daddy and Mr. Armitage would certainly approve.
My mama, daddy, sisters Sara and Debbie and yours truly–Christmas ’97, I believe, at our house.
And by the way, my daddy used to play Santa every year for certain community events and also visited the homes of friends who asked him to drop in and pay a visit on their youngsters. He got such a kick out of spreading holiday joy. I can envision Richard doing something like that–with a bit of padding, of course. 😀 He’s already got the deep, jolly laugh and twinkling blue eyes. 😀