Tuesday, November 11, 2014

How humor is used in families
On my father’s side of the family, we are related to Cyril Call, one of the original LDS pioneers that first came to Utah, and, it seems one of the few people that is related to about half the people descended from the original Mormon pioneers. His son Homer, a twin to Omer, shared a rather unusual sense of humor that seems to run through parts of the family. Some of the jokes the brothers shared remind me a bit of J.K. Rowling’s Weasley twins. Homer and Omer were identical twins and were therefore difficult to tell apart. When they went on dates, each twin would dress the same, then identify themselves uniquely by wearing different flowers, so their dates could tell them apart. Halfway through the dances, if they fancied, they would switch flowers, and then go home with different dates, without their dates knowing their partners had switched.

Both eventually married, Homer at the respectable age of 22, having apparently made up their minds about who was best, and Homer had 12 children by his wife Nancy Merrell, whose earlier relatives fought in the Revolutionary War. One of their children married into the Grover family, and my talented, piano-playing grandmother, Welda Grover, married my grandfather, Earnest W. Dutson. Grandma always claimed the W. stood for “work.” We were never able to ask Grandpa in order to verify if this was true. The Dutsons were, and are very straight-faced, not what would normally be considered humorous people. When my grandmother died in 2001, my youngest brother and I went to her funeral. There, after the ceremony at the funeral luncheon, we watched how the family sense of humor came into play. Welda’s siblings, not professional comics, I might add, began teasing their Dutson relatives, relentlessly poking fun at them. The at-the-Dutsons-expense humor was hilarious, and the Dutson brothers had no defences against this form of attack, although they tried their best to stave off looking silly. It was the funniest funeral, and one of the funnier moments in my life. After watching this for 45 minutes, my brother and I, ribs smarting from having laughed so hard for so long, had to go home. Some people have a party at funerals…my family members shared an irresistible sense of humor. I think that was a fitting tribute to a deceased family member, don’t you?

What kinds of humorous traditions do you family members have? Do you have branches of the family that are less funny than others? How did they relate to you, and to life?

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