Tuesday, February 28, 2017

It's quarter to two in Saskatoon

I spent a fine day at the L'Arche Day Program today while some of the team did their first aid training update. We had musical morning prayer with shakers and drums, and Mariette* prayed for all her wonderful friends as usual. Then we had a seated circle game, passing a ball around with hands and feet, and our own special version of the Bird Dance. We played Dominoes (and made lines of them for Leanne to knock down), Connect Four (who can get their pieces into the stand the fastest?), and Kerplunk! with Thomas and Leanne, counting all the marbles. It was all great fun as I hadn't played some of the games since my kids were young, and to heck with the rules!

But the most enjoyable moments of the day came from Mariette and her cell phone. While we were having lunch together, she turned it on and announced quite authoritatively, "It's twelve-seventeen in Edmonton, and one-seventeen in Saskatoon." That made us laugh out loud, no one louder than Mariette. Then we got into a conversation about what time it was in Vancouver, and Brantford Ontario, where Mariette's brother lives, and whether we know people in all of Canada's time zones.

About a half hour later, Mariette was finishing a game of Ludo, Trouble, or Aggravation (one of those games that has different names in different cultures) and she suddenly blurted out, " What do you know? It's quarter to two in Saskatoon!" to more delighted laughter from those of us present. I guess it's the running joke at L'Arche Edmonton these days, asking Mariette what time it is in Saskatoon, because she loves to give the answer. She knows she's right.

Certainty can be a wonderful thing. And aren't we all happy to show off what we know? What's delightful about Mariette's announcements of the time in Saskatoon is that it's like a big joke with a punchline that's hers to deliver -- and she delivers it with gusto and a big laugh to boot. We can't prevent ourselves from grinning and laughing with her. Jokes don't really have to be funny if you deliver them with enough joy!

It reminds me of my kids' riddles when they were small and didn't really understand conventional humour. Lines like, "What did the table cloth say to the table? Oh, you need to be washed. Hahahahaha!"

I think everyone needs a Mariette, or a child in their life, just to remind them that punchlines can be whatever you want when delivered with enough enthusiasm and a belly laugh!

*I use pseudonyms for the names of all my L'Arche friends.

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