Calgary in eastern Canada? Really?

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, April 13, 2023

A Vancouver acquaintance of mine – geography-challenged, obviously – told me recently that Calgary is in eastern Canada. “Huh?” I asked him. “In eastern Canada?” “Yes,” he said; “It’s beyond hope!” Ooops, he meant beyond Hope, BC!

Welcome to our holy hilarity edition.

It’s in that spirit that Christianity has given license to its diverse followers throughout history to take themselves more lightly than usual on the first Sunday after Easter, traditionally referred to as Holy Hilarity Sunday, but also as Holy Humour Sunday or Bright Sunday.

Why the lightheartedness on that particular day? Apparently, it originated in the Eastern European custom of post-Easter lightheartedness that celebrates the great joke of Easter, the cosmic pratfall as God pulled the rug out from under the powers of darkness and death by the Resurrection.

Yes, in Jesus’ crucifixion Evil thought it had triumphed. But on Easter God had the last laugh! So, this week I thought we might indulge once more in a little lightheartedness of our own.

For instance, there’s the delightful story about some kids during a church service that our Vancouver Island coffee companion Leanne Forest shared with us:

“Six-year-old Angie and her four-year-old brother, Joel, were sitting together in church. Joel giggled, sang and talked out loud. Finally, his big sister had had enough. ‘You're not supposed to talk out loud in church.’ ‘Why? Who's going to stop me?’ Joel asked. Angie pointed to the back of the church and said, ‘See those two men standing by the door? They're hushers!’”

Then there’s the one about the pastor who, at his Easter Sunday service, announced to his flock, “This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.” (Haven’t heard yet whether she got the yolk.)

That could well have been the same pastor who announced to his congregation: “Weight Watchers will meet at 7:00 p.m. in the church hall. Please use large double door at the side entrance.”

Speaking of keeping ourselves in good physical condition reminds me of the story former Cochrane resident Rose Nowakowski forwarded to me some years ago on how to keep our arm and shoulder muscles in good shape:

“Begin by standing outside behind the house,” the story goes, “and with a five-pound potato sack in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. After a few weeks, move up to 10-pound potato sacks and then 50-pound potato sacks, and finally get to where you can lift a 100-pound potato sack in each hand and hold your arms straight out for more than a minute. It can be done if you stick to it.

“Next, start putting a few potatoes in the sacks, but be careful not to overdo!”

Then there are these office signs:

On a maternity room door: “Push. Push. Push.”

At an optometrist’s office: “If you don’t see what you’re looking for, you’ve come to the right place.”

And in a nonsmoking area: “If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action.”

Echoing my own frustrations with computers, one of our longtime coffee companions, Calgary reader Monique Achtman, sent us this one: “When you get to the point where you really understand your computer, it’s probably obsolete.”

And knowing my weakness for puns, another of our readers forwarded this one: “A gossip is someone with a great sense of rumour.”

Finally, wasn’t it G.K. Chesterton who once wrote: “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly”?

And with that, Happy Hilarity!


© 2023 Warren Harbeck

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