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While my grandmother was introverted, my grandfather was extremely extroverted with a keen sense of humor and childlike delight. The only boy in a family of seven older sisters, he had bright red hair, which further called attention to his unique wit. Until his last breath, he’d regularly walk up to strangers, start a conversation, and inevitably share a humorous observation.

Throughout the years, my grandmother typed up tributes to his humor. And then lost, rewritten, and lost the tributes again. She wrote, “I don’t know how many copies there might be around. I hope each includes another incident of his humor and wit.”

The one below was written on December 12, 1994. 

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Anyone can make another cry, but who can make another laugh is blessed. Morris is thrice blessed. He can make the dourest of men cackle with glee. The laughter rises, bubbles out of him. And the words have a special child-like innocence. They are funny, outrageous, unexpected – never demeaning or lewd.Rose_cropped

Julie, as a young child, wrote on a greeting card, “Grandpa always says the right thing to break the tension.”

His wit is spontaneous. I’d shake my head in wonder as to how he could switch the serious to reveal the humor.

For last Mother’s Day, Allan [son] and Elaine [daughter-in-law] gave us a lovely kitchen wall clock. When we next met at Douglas’ [grandson] house, Morris out of the blue reminded Elaine of the clock. Then putting on a face of mock dismay he lamented “Oh that clock is giving us so much trouble.”

Elaine alarmed, asked, “Why, what’s wrong?”

His hands flipping in exasperation Morris answered, “All day, all night the clock taunts, ‘What time is it? What time is it? What time is it?’ It’s enough to drive you crazy!”

Some weeks later, when Allan stopped over, Grandpa said to him with a straight face, “That’s a terrible clock you gave us.”

Allan inquired, and the response was,” Because every time I look it has a different time; never the same!”

Now who else would think of anything so ridiculous; it evokes genuine laughter.

Some people have inferred our house must peal with laughter all day. However, Grandpa could roll out a barrel of lightning and thunder when displeased. He could also find cause for turning off the scowl and putting on the grin.

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When we’re at Ralph’s [grocery store], and Grandpa is wandering down the aisles, I’m not surprised when I hear bursts of laughter from some corner.

I shake my head in wonderment as to where his humor derives. Surely not out of these pens, whose ink keep running dry.

Rose Ridnor