The Magic of Simple Things

Sometimes it is the most common things that give me pleasure.  For example, a couple of nights ago I found myself chuckling when just as the country song I was listening to referenced the sound a train whistle, a real train started to go by blowing it’s whistle.

While I have been listening to country music since the 1970s (i.e, not an uncommon thing for me to do) and we hear train whistles multiple times a day where we live, the juxtaposition of the song lyric and actual train whistle struck me as funny.

 

We love country music.
We love country music.

And that is what I am grateful for today – the many time things like that happen.   Things which on their own are common ordinary every day things, but which come together at just the right time to add a bit of sparkle and laughter to our lives.

 

Pictures of Johnny saying “If I …, it’s mine”

Today I am grateful for the times I have the camera handy at just the right time to catch pictures showing life with our cats including Johnny’s versions of two internet memes:

1. If I want it, it’s mine.
Johnny is a firm believer in "If I want it, it's mine."
Johnny is a firm believer in “If I want it, it’s mine.”
2. If I see, it’s mine.

Johnny is determined that the bird she sees in the video will belong to her.

 
3. If I can claim it, it’s mine.
Johnny laying claim to my foot
Johnny laying claim to my foot
4. If it can cuddle me, it’s mine.
Night cuddles Johnny, therefore Night belongs to Johnny
Night cuddles Johnny, therefore Night belongs to Johnny
5. If it can be sat on, it’s mine.
Just a few of the places that Johnny has claimed as her seat
Just a few of the places that Johnny has claimed as her seat
6. If it can pet me, it’s mine.
This happens if Johnny is awake and Jamey or I give Night any attention. I am not sure if this is because Night raised Johnny as "her kitten."
This happens if Johnny is awake and Jamey or I give Night any attention. I am not sure if this is because Night raised Johnny as “her kitten.”
7. If it can be eaten, it’s mine.
10 month old kitten taking adult cat's food
10 month old Johnny takes over Night’s food
8. If I can play with it, it’s mine.
It doesn't matter who originally had it, if Johnny wants to play with it, it is hers. (The only exception is when she chooses a "toy" that could harm her if chewed or swallowed.)
It doesn’t matter who originally had it, if Johnny wants to play with it, it is hers. (The only exception is when she chooses a “toy” that could harm her if chewed or swallowed.)
9. If I can sleep on it, it’s mine.
From L to R, Johnny's pillows are keyboard, scale, Jamey, my arm, Night, my legs
From L to R, Johnny’s pillows are keyboard, scale, Jamey, my arm, Night, my legs
10. If I am asleep and don’t notice you have it, you may borrow it until I wake up and want it again
Yes, there are really times when Johnny does sleep
Yes, there are really times when Johnny does sleep
Note: Night has a very different personality than Johnny does.   She knows she is loved but I think that emotionally there will always be a part of her that will remain the skinny, frightened feral cat I first met. We do make sure she gets as much love and play time as she wants, either by making use of the time when Johnny is asleep or one of us distracting Johnny while the other spends time with Night.  It is also a daily occurrence for Night and Johnny to come spend family time with Jamey and me, during which all four of us hang out and relax together.

 

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Shared Laughter

What I am grateful for today is the strengthening of the bond between Jamey and I that occurs when we share things – in this case shared laughter.

As noted in other posts, 11 month old Johnny, who we have spoiled because we almost lost her as a very young kitten (see Pictures for a bit of her history), firmly believes that anything she wants is hers by right.   She regularly goes on alert when I start to pet Night and often comes over to insist that I should be petting her instead.

Last night, Johnny started to look interested when she noticed that I was petting Night. Jamey told her “if you want, I can pet you too.”   Johnny promptly sat up and changed position – facing away from Jamey and giving a big yawn.   We both burst out laughing at her timing. 

Johnny turning her back to him after Jamey offers to pet her.
Johnny turning her back to him after Jamey offers to pet her.

Jamey said he could just picture her saying “right” in the same tone that Bill Cosby used in his Noah skit.    This used to be a very famous comedy sketch but I don’t know how often it is played now-a-days, so for those who may not know the tone of voice that Noah used when saying “right,” I am including a YouTube video.

 

We would love to hear about something your pet(s) have done that made you laugh.

 

I love to laugh

Mary Poppins’ Uncle Albert Loves to Laugh and so do I.   There have been many studies on the health benefits of both gratitude* and laughter.  I love knowing that something I enjoy doing is actually good for me.

Jamey and I get to experience spontaneous laughter regularly because of our cats’ antics:

10 month old kitten in hiding with her tail sticking out
10 month old Johnny thinks she is completely hidden inside of her Ripple Rug.

(Thanks go to Jamey for capturing the above picture of Johnny’s tail sticking out of her Ripple Rug.)

 

10 month old kitten sprawled out after having catnip
and here is the rest of Johnny (after having catnip)

 

I also believe in Laughter Yoga.   I don’t practice it daily as I do with gratitude, but it is a very useful tool for times when I need to “reset” myself because I am too deeply into “have to get things done” mode.

A number of folks that I follow on social media regularly post pictures, .gifs and videos that make me literally laugh out loud.     

An example is this short cat video that I found on Google+.    I have seen many cats drink water from a sink but this is the first time I have seen one who pulls his/her person’s finger over to drink from.

Then, of course, there are the wealth of clean humor videos on YouTube such as one of my long time favorites – Abbott and Costello’s Who’s on First routine.   No matter how many times I watch it, I still find myself laughing at it each time.

Norman Cousins found that 10 minutes of belly laughter from watching funny videos (such as the Marx Brothers) would give him two hours of pain free sleep.     I keep my own stock of favorite funny videos for very similar reasons.   I believe that the old saying laughter is the best medicine is very, very true.

Today’s gratitude goes to those who make us laugh in any venue.   

 

*Note:  I like to read about scientific studies that show the benefits of gratitude. I recently read What Can the Brain Reveal about Gratitude?  in the Greater Good Magazine published by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkley.   If you are interested in topics such as gratitude and happiness, you may wish to check them out.

 

 

Rev. James W. Brougher, Sr. on You Bet Your Life with Groucho Marx

 As I  mentioned in https://wearegratefulfor.com/thank-you-adam-seltzer-for-tracking-down-a-groucho-quote/, I am a long time fan of Groucho Marx.

Rev. Brougher, Minister, Comedian, Author, 1870 - 1967
Rev. Brougher, Minister, Comedian, Author, 1870 – 1967 He made Groucho Marx laugh.
Old shows that I love

While I am grateful for the laughter from shows such as You Bet Your Life with Groucho Marx and What’s My Line with John Charles Daly, I am equally thankful for the glimpses of history that they give us.

 

Introducing Rev. Brougher, Sr., Minister, Comedian, Author

Rev. James W. Brougher, Sr., born January 8, 1870,  said his parents wanted him to be a preacher and his friends wanted him to be a comedian. He became both and made Groucho Marx laugh in the April 28, 1960 episode below of You Bet Your Life.

 

He was part of "old Hollywood."

Rev. Brougher, who lived to be 98, both performed the marriage of actors Douglas Fairbanks Sr. and Mary Pickford (March 28, 1920) and officiated at the funeral of his long time friend Will Rogers (August 22, 1935).   He experienced first hand some of my favorite periods in American history.

 

Rev. Brougher is also the author of the book Life and Laughter (1960).  

His son, Rev. James Whitcomb Brougher Jr.,  who followed in his father’s footsteps as both a Baptist minister and comedian, lived to be 101.  His grandson, Rev. Frank Brougher, seems to be following in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather.

I am grateful to You Bet Your Life for acquainting me with this remarkable man.  He made such an impression on me that I spent some time on the web researching him and felt I needed to dedicate a gratitude post to him.   Perhaps someone else who has not heard of him will read this post, watch the video and feel the same pleasure that I did in learning about him.

 

 

We are grateful for the laughs that our cats give to us

10 month old kitten taking adult cat's food
10 month old Johnny takes over Night’s food

One day last week, shortly after I had given Night a snack, Johnny decided she wanted one also.  Instead of waiting for me to give her one, she began to help herself to Night’s food.   Since that seemed to be working, I just sat and watched (while keeping the camera handy).

It didn’t take long for Johnny to clearly decide this type of sharing wasn’t working for her.    She reached her paw into the dish and at first took out a couple of pieces and then pulled the dish just a bit closer to her (unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the latter). Her message to Night was quite clear though: “what was yours is now mine!”

This was just one time out of many that the little kitten we initially didn’t think would survive has filled our life with laughter.   Over time, I will post other pictures and stories of her antics.   

I have known many cats over the course of almost 60 years. Of all of those cats, Johnny stands out as one of the strongest personalities.     Even though some of the extra gray hairs on my head have her name on them, she has brought us so much pleasure in her 10 months of life. That is why she is on our We Are Grateful For site icon.