Mine was a serious childhood.
I’m not sure why.
For whatever reason, I took it upon myself from a young age to be the responsible one.  I carried around a massive weight, thinking that if I worked hard enough I could make everything in my family right.
It didn’t work.  Things never got “right.”

However there were a few times in my youth when I laid the burden down, and for a short while felt light and carefree. It was Grampa who set the tone and gave us permission to be silly for a brief season.

Once, while at our grandparents’ house, we were listening to Grampa’s old records.  One
of these was called “Cool Water.” Grampa explained the lyrics: a man and his donkey (named Dan) are traveling through the desert and they run out of water.  They keep seeing  clear, crystal springs, but these are merely mirages.  Grampa started dancing with us and we got really silly. I don’t think I ever laughed so hard before in my life.

Grampa wasn’t always giddy and playful; he could be as serious and responsible as the next grown-up.  However he knew when a little levity was in order and could kick up his heels better than anyone I knew. Grampa lived by the adage “Laughter is the best medicine.”  He made time in every day for a bit of fun and invited those he loved along for the ride.