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Baby Laughing - Jane Medved

Baby Laughing - Jane Medved

Acrylic and Feathers on Wood

7" x 8" x 2"


Ancient Amusement Born Again

Karen W. Porter


“Do you think we can get her to laugh into our telephones made of cans? You stand here Jud, and I will pull the string into the kitchen over there,” brother Jeb said to his little brother Jud. The doctor laughed, “You two boys just get to hold your new little sister AFTER you wash your hands, and no playing telephone in the house today.”

“We just washed em” Jud said.

“Well then sit right here next to grandpa and gently hold your arms up when he tells you to.”

The doctor gently placed the baby in Grandpa Vance’s arms and said, “Amazing! I never saw a baby born laughing!”  The notorious Beanblossom burst of laughter was back to bring world peace. Vance thought to himself.

 Carefully handing the laughing baby to each boy for a cuddle was pure joy. But the special first gaze into their new sister’s eyes was short for Jeb and Jud. They giggled at her laugh. The mule brayed at her laugh and popped his head in the window. 

“Go to the back yard under the old oak tree, tie Festus up and play on the tire swing until bedtime,” Grandpa said.  And so, they went.

Left alone for a few brief moments in the sitting room holding his granddaughter, Vance whispered in the baby’s ear “I thought the world had no more room for laughter until you were born this day.”  He knew she was magic! All Beanblossoms born laughing like this had the family magic. 

The ancient Egyptian keys to laughter were passed to this baby from generations upon generations of Beanblossoms.  One family member per generation had the magical laugh and was granted the use of what their family secretly referred to as ‘the book.’ Most people thought they were talking about the Bible. But actually, ‘the book’ was a thousand-year-old joke book so powerful people had died laughing from its punchlines. 

The book of ancient papyrus leaves, animal skins, and modern paper was tied neatly in hemp and hidden amongst the family bible, and Sears, seed and clothing catalogues, in the China cabinet.  Copying, maintaining, writing, and translating jokes was the family responsibility.  One person with the Beanblossom laugh from each generation was granted ten jokes to write into the book and tasked with understanding previous jokes. ‘The book’ went back 34 generations and was bestowed upon the Beanblossom line by Cleopatra at the library of Alexandria and magically enchanted by a high priestess. A golden whisp of light sparkles swept out of the book, swirled around the baby, and then glowed in the speaking piece of the new farmhouse phone.  Grandpa Vance knew this was a sign that the magic from ‘the book’ was now linked to this baby he held in his arms because of the dancing light.  What could this mean? Would she grow up to tell jokes on the phone? He had never heard of such a thing.

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