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Ramblin Joe: Laughter is the Best Medicine

Bison Blinds

by Joe Baxter

Happy Wednesday, FaceTicklers … Are ya tickled? What about? It doesn’t take much, and it’s much easier to find things that tickle you than it is to go looking for things that make you mad. I bet I smile a smile to myself twenty-five times a day. I usually chuckle quite a bit and I laugh out loud at least a few times, as well. Life can be pretty hard sometimes, but it’s funny most of the time. You can bet, as you start each day, that at some point, SOMETHING is going to strike you as funny. The saddest people I ever met were the ones who had no sense of humor. How do folks live like that? It’s true that we can’t just go around laughing at everything all day long, but a healthy dose of humor is necessary for good mental health.

A good laugh is like Emotional WD-40 on the Squeaky Door Hinge of Life.

Joe Baxter

A good laugh is like Emotional WD-40 on the Squeaky Door Hinge Of Life. I’ve worked some pretty awful jobs in my time. People do hard work, in the bitter cold, in the blistering heat, under duress, stressful, dangerous. The ONLY way we got through some of those hard days was to keep each other laughing. Oh, we still got the job done; probably better than we would have had we been all dour and grumpy and mean to each other. Laughter made things….fun! I understand that folks have problems, and that we can’t judge a person’s sense of humor by just one or two interactions, but we all know that one ol’ grumpy meanie, don’t we? Sometimes, we find out that our favorite Permanent Frown person is really just a big softie. The wrinkled brow and outward display of anger are just a big cover-up. It’s a defense mechanism; a way to keep people out. Unfortunately, there ARE totally humorless folks out there. It gives me the willies. I check people out. I trust my instincts. They get one or two chances with me, then I’m moving on to someone else who knows how to smile. Life’s too short. I had a college professor tell me one time that my humor was “blocking behavior”. I asked her, “What’s that tell you?” She wanted to send me to the principal’s office, but it wasn’t grade school, so she settled for dealing me a really nasty glare. And even that, I still find it hilarious. I smile inwardly when I think about it. Don’t forget to smile, and laugh often, at your leisure.

Happy Quit Smoking Anniversary.

Ten year

Hey! I almost forgot to mention my Quit Smoking birthday! TEN YEARS, by George!!! I normally mark the date. I quit on the last week of February 2012. I retired in June of 2012, and one of the things I made sure of before I retired was that, in retirement, I would no longer smoke cigarettes. I’ve covered my entire smoking history in these e-pages on the occasion of previous birthdays, so I won’t go into details, except to say that I smoked too much for too long, and I quit too late. I have been diagnosed with “severe COPD” and I have a few health problems as a result of breathing tobacco smoke, and my life-long addiction to nicotine.

The smartest thing I ever did, other than marrying Jean, was to quit smoking. I have a hard time breathing when I exert, but I still function okay. Folks are generally pretty understanding and patient, but I LOOK healthy, (sort of,) so it’s kinda hard for people, even those who know me well, to grasp the fact that I am not 100%. I’m forced to move a little more slowly, approach my tasks a bit more carefully, and take frequent breaks. I used to be able to work most people into the dirt, but now, let’s just say that my furniture moving and ditch-digging days are over. Truly, my life would be entirely different right now if I had the lung capacity to support what most folks consider to be “normal” activity. But I don’t have that lung capacity, and it’s because of smoking cigarettes. I regularly post my terse warning on social media, especially for you younger folks – QUIT NOW.

If you don’t stop smoking, by the time you’re 50, you’re gonna regret not having healthy lungs. Take my word for it; it’s gonna kill you. And I just checked – cigarettes are $6.50 (plus tax) a pack in Oklahoma. That’s 70 bucks a carton! That’s 280 bucks a month. That’s a car payment, Jim. Think that’s bad? Cigarettes are 13 bucks a pack in New York and Illinois. That’s good cigarettes, not the horrible dustpan tobacco they use in the cut-rate Git&Go smokes, but even though there’s a difference in tobaccos, and the price, the poisons are the same. I’m not looking for sympathy, or complaining about my lot in life. I’m a big boy. I’ve been taking responsibility for my own actions all my adult life. Nobody held a gun to my head and made me smoke. All things considered, I’m doing okay, and I’m enjoying these days, worldly clamors notwithstanding. Mine is a cautionary tale. I’m glad I quit. You can quit, too.

Congratulations to all the folks who have beat one of the nastiest addictions there is. You smokers – I’M NOT putting you down, God knows. I understand, and I understand how hard it is to let go, and to beat the nicotine addiction. I love y’all, and I want everybody to be happy and healthy. I never said I didn’t enjoy smoking. I just said I didn’t want to die because of smoking.

In other news – In March and April, the Arcadia Round Barn will be celebrating THIRTY YEARS since restoration was completed and the Barn was reopened to the public. Stay tuned for news of pending events and celebrations. Incidentally, the Round Barn is always looking for volunteers. Come on out and help run the gift shop, greet visitors, do odd jobs, help with music programs, cleaning, gardening, and groundskeeping. We call it the “Round Barn Family” and everyone is welcome to be a part of it!

Ah, the weather. After two inches of ice pellets piled up on the ground last week, this week has turned downright balmy. It’s layer season in Oklahoma. Cold in the am, hot in the pm. March is here. Spring Break before you know it! Hope you all have a great week. Keep a smile on your face and a song in your heart. – JB

RESIST – Being grumpy. It feels a lot better to be happy.

EDITOR’S NOTE. Joe Baxter is one of my favorite people. He loves music, the Arcadia Round Barn, his wife Jean, a club sandwich from Farmstead Cafe, Route 66 and America (not in that order). A songwriter and musician, he has a way with words and can turn a phrase such that you want to listen, or in this case, read for a while. If you are one of his “face friends” on social media, you know he can get you thinking with his posts and musings. He’s letting us post them here on The Luther Register! We’re trying something new. Find Joe at the Arcadia Round Barn where he is the head conversation aficionado catching stories from Route 66 travelers from all over the world, and getting the band together eight days a week! Thanks Ramblin’ Joe! ENJOY! – dawn

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