Light Notes

It’s a New Year’s tale that sounds like an ‘I Love Lucy’ rerun. Mind your step

Laughter is the best medicine, and I’ve been told that more than once. But believe me, sometimes it’s a bitter pill to swallow.

That’s why I keep a little box of sweet candies hidden in a corner of my handbag. On the lid of the well-worn tin is “Lucy’s Predic-a-Mints” with a picture of one of my favorite TV actresses, Lucille Ball. The small tin was given to me by an observant friend.

I’m quite sure that when “Ethel” gifted it to me, she could see the difference between this Lucy — me — and TV Lucy.

Ms. Ball’s “I Love Lucy” predicaments were scripted. Mine are not.

Still, we have a lot in common. People like to rewatch our episodes, often accompanied by peals of laughter.

That’s what happened to me one New Year’s Day, with no way to change the channel.

To clarify, I have “some splainin’ to do”.

Each New Year’s Day, my husband and I have brunch with a group of friends who meet at John and Vicky’s home. It’s a spacious open design, where the dining area flows past a sunken living room and then on into the kitchen area.

It’s a great place to entertain — especially when I show up.

“Remember the year Lucy ... “ the crowd begins to roar as they relive the unforgettable moment, the storyteller’s face beginning to contort with laughter. “Twice!” John reminds with two fingers while his napkin stems a flow of tears.

Understandably, the other guests are hysterical at the remembrance, too.

Really, I have to admit the incident has been a scene I would like to forget — an indelible recollection of the time I decided to help clear the table after the meal.

And that is certainly what I did.

Somewhere between the dining room and the kitchen, I forgot the proximity of the carpeted sunken living room. Suddenly, I found myself launched into space, still clinging desperately to the china and silver.

All eyes turned to see Lucy heading for a predicament.

But like a true comedian, I quickly brushed the egg off my face, laughed at myself and picked up my shattered self-esteem. Friends returned to their dining chairs.

Still the worst was yet to come.

On the way back from the kitchen, stressing and preoccupied with my faux pas and injured pride, I passed by the sunken living room again.

It’s hard to imagine how I could have been so distracted. The hardwood flooring edge was exactly where it had been only moments before. But suddenly I was in the same head-over-heels predicament — again!

Evidently, my friends’ memory of that nostalgic picture is still worthy of an Emmy ... and reruns.

As a reminder of my hi-jinks, each year since then an orange cone with a tall flag stands vigilant between me and another plight. It’s a great conversation starter, at my expense.

But even so, the laughter kicks off the new year with a healthy dose of joy.

Honestly, the way I’m ‘splainin’ this episode that returns each New Year’s Day is that laughter is God’s natural remedy, one that can cure just about anything that ails you -- even an embarrassing predicament. And maybe a little hurt pride.

Proverbs 16:18 “First pride, then the crash -- the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.” (MSG)

Lucy Luginbill is a syndicated Tri-City Herald columnist, religion editor and career public TV producer and host. Her popular Light Notes column reflects inspirational and faith-focused stories. She’s been working in journalism for more than 30 years.