Laughter really is the best medicine!

"You'll always laugh with Juliet," says Vivienne. She's right.

“You’ll always laugh with Juliet,” says Vivienne. She’s right.

A Zambian, two Swiss and two Canadians wrote me to tell me what they do to keep laughter and joy in their days as farmwomen. I’d asked for their input for an article for the local Swiss farm paper. Since then I often think of their responses. Each had a bit of a different take. I’m going to write an article for the ‘Grainews’, a Canadian Farm paper too, so I don’t want to get into too much of what the women wrote.

I have laughed with all of them. Vivienne, a small farmer and former secretary to the director of a larger organisation, doesn’t always lead an easy life. Being a single mom of six and providing food and education has given her many challenges. When I feel depressed I often think of what she said at the end of a difficult day: “I go to a friend; we drink a cup of tea and laugh. What else are you going to do!” I think I’ve laughed more with her than with most other people I know.

My sister Helen, whose husband’s family ranch and their home were seriously threatened in recent wild fires in northeastern British Columbia, Canada, is someone I always think of as laughing. She too, often has her struggles, not easy ones either. But she mostly manages to keep her sense of humour. She says that often she finds the absurd in a story while retelling it, and then has to laugh at it. With the fires raging around them, and on evacuation order, they sat together with neighbours in the same situation (their cows are all calving, so they didn’t want to leave the mothers and babies alone). Stories were told, coffee drank and laughter shared. Shared laughter makes a difficult situation easier.

Mothers tell of how their little children make them laugh, or a little puppy. My grandsons are great for making me laugh. They have such unique thoughts and ideas. “Grandma, you and Granddad should have a little girl too.” You really think so, Janosh??! I try to tell him I’m too old, he doesn’t agree. Good kid. I’m not old after all. Surrounding oneself with happy people is one way of letting it rub off on you.

My Swiss friends tell of cultivating a thankful heart, of looking for the little joys in every day. A neighbour waving as she drives/walks past. A cup of coffee shared with a friend. A flower just opened in the garden as you walk by.

Life is rough. Our newspapers are full of it, our days can be too. But my friends are proof that no matter how tough life gets, there still can be something to make you smile. But you have to look for it. Some of us are better at that than others. We can learn from each other.

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