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Resilience equals laughter and making toast
JANE GIVES GOOD ADVICE and finds that laughter is a great way to remain resilient throughout the many challenges of life.

VIOLA - Sitting across from Dane on a hard, slick bench seat with a still-damp table between us, waiting for our road breakfast, I realized it was Dump Day.

Long ago, we split up a few basic chores even though we have our separate homes. I reached across the table for Dane's hands and asked, “Will you be taking the recycling to the dump today?”

Making a single two-letter word sound more like a dozen, he answered, “No.”

Still holding both his hands, I gazed into his eyes and said, “Be the man God intended you to be.”

Dane’s head tilted backward and he started laughing; I joined in. He had no response and later we agreed that there wasn’t one.

The past year has been challenging for me. From moving family members into assisted living, to standing watch during my granddaughter’s hospital stay, to losing my beloved flock of ducks and geese, to having my hip painfully pop out of joint, and ultimately dealing with my mom’s death and funeral, the year seemed determined to bring one hardship after another.

Laughter has helped, as have long walks in the woods, plenty of Epsom salt baths, and talking with a good friend.

I’m convinced laughter is great medicine. Being a person who laughs a lot isn’t synonymous with having a rosy life. Laughing is a type of resilience. When everything seems wrong and you wake up to one stinking warped crust left of your favorite bread, you still have to make toast. And then, you chuckle about it, while chewing, as you add ‘loaf of bread’ to your grocery list.

With three days left in the year, I was driving to LaCrosse on Highway 14 in my newly detailed car, my window down, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. Ahead of me was a tractor so wide it was straddling the centerline just to stay on the road.

The tractor was pulling a manure spreader, and clods of cow dung were flying every which way like crows being spooked off a telephone wire.

I rolled up my window and tried to pass, but I couldn’t. The tractor was too wide and was wobbling back and forth like someone who’s had too many drinks. I couldn’t safely get around the beast. And that’s when the humor of it hit me.

“Good riddance, 2019!” I shouted to no one as manure pelted my car. And I started to laugh, vowing I’d simply “make toast” more often in the year ahead.

When I got back home I noticed the mound of recyclables was gone. I climbed into bed that night thankful that indeed Dane is the man God intended him to be.

Bring it on, 2020!