Look for a little fun in life


Randy Riley - Contributing Columnist



It’s been a rough week for many people — for many, many different reasons. Last week, I wrote about the current, crazy presidential race. It certainly hasn’t gotten any better.

Sometimes, it’s hard to say that “life is good.” Life is often tough. Life can be too serious. Sometimes, we find it nearly impossible to simply smile and enjoy the moment; let alone enjoy life.

Since last week, I’ve come to the conclusion that we, as a society, and as individuals, are not having enough fun. I’m not talking about going on vacation; visiting Disney World; spending lots of money kinds of fun. I’m talking about doing simple things is a fun way and doing usual, everyday things with a slight twist.

Nearly 30 years ago, a good friend and co-worker was busy preparing for his summer wedding. His wife-to-be was doing most of the planning. Curt just had to be sure he had a best-man, groomsmen and enough ushers to make it all work on the day of the wedding. Along with Mike, another co-worker and good friend, I was invited to be part of the wedding party.

It was going to be an outdoor wedding, but we were still expected to wear tuxedos. The bride-to-be gave us instructions on where to rent our tuxedos and what fancy, formal style we were expected to wear.

On Friday afternoon, we picked up our formal-wear and made sure everything fit. We looked good. It’s amazing how a guy can start sounding like James Bond as soon as he put on a tuxedo. The owner of the rental shop made sure we understood that the tuxedos were to be returned by Monday evening. Mike asked the clerk, “You mean we have these until Monday?” The clerk said, “Yep, they’re yours through the weekend.”

On Saturday afternoon, the day of the wedding, we were dressed in our fancy tuxedos; wearing our shiny shoes and ready for a wedding. It went perfectly. James Bond would have been proud. There was joy and laughter throughout the entire day.

During the wedding reception, Mike and I talked about an event we were both going to the next day. A physician friend of ours, who had grown up in London, was having a Proper-English-Tea at his country estate. Mike and I were invited. We laughed about what one should wear to a Proper-English-Tea and we decided that tuxedos with cummerbunds would make us looking quite dashing. I’m talking Bond… James Bond dashing.

The Proper-English-Tea was fun; a little stuffy, but fun. It was during the tea, that Mike and I discovered that we both had golf clubs with us. Well, we were going to be finished with tea in plenty of time to play nine-holes of golf at the Elks Golf Course. So, why not. We swapped out our shiny shoes for our golf shoes.

We made quite an impression with the Sunday afternoon golf crowd at the Elks. At one point, my ball ended up in about three inches of water. No problem. I slipped off my shoes, rolled up my tuxedo pants and chipped it out of the water and onto the green. To this day, I’m sure I hold the club record for the best-golf-shot-by-man-wearing-a-tux.

We shared a really good laugh with everyone on the golf course that day. In fact, they were still laughing about it a few weeks later when Mike and I played again. Laughter, fun and joy are good — particularly when it’s shared with others.

My wife, my children, my grandchildren and my family fill me with joy. There are times of sadness that can often be extreme, but those times can be overshadowed by joy – simple joy.

My grandson, Clayton, loves to sit on the front porch with me when it rains.

Invariably, he inches his way to the edge of the porch where the raindrops are splashing. His little hand reaches out. The first time he did it he looked at me; expecting to be told not to get wet. Instead, I joined him as we got our hands wet, then our arms, then our heads. We ended up dancing in a puddle. There is always joy in dancing in the rain with a grandchild. Sometimes these simple joys can elude us.

Keep looking. Joy can be found in the wiggle-butted dance of a toddler or a stupid stunt like playing golf while wearing a tuxedo.

Whatever the case; regardless of the problems facing you, keep looking for joy. Keep looking for simple fun. It will always be worth it.

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Randy Riley

Contributing Columnist

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