Some Things Never Get Old

We are driving up the dirt road toward the ranch, where we spend a week every summer. Before we enter the property, there is a metal gate we must open to drive further down the road. That means someone must jump out of the car, unchain the gate and open it while I drive through to the other side.

Next to the gate there is an electric fence. Every time one of my boys gets out to open the gate, he pretends to get shocked by the fence.

Every. Single. Time.

And every single time, we laugh. It never gets old. It doesn’t matter which one of the boys gets out to open the gate; the ones left in the car always say, “Pretend you’re leaving him.” Or, “Drive away.”

So I do. And we laugh at that, too.

Every. Single. Time.

There are certain things that never get old. Like the same stories we tell when my parents, brothers and our respective families gather on summer weekends at the family lakehouse, or as I drive the boys half-way across the country to Wilderness Ranch.   It doesn’t matter how many times my brothers tell the story about the rooster that chased them across a field, we laugh just as hard the fifth time hearing it, as we did the first. It’s like hearing a good joke for the second time. Before the joke-teller gets to the punch line, you are already giggling in anticipation at the humor. You know what’s coming and you can’t hold the laughter in.

The family lakehouse, where we tell the same stories and laugh like it’s the first time we’ve ever heard them.

The family lore or silly antics, like pretending to get shocked by an electric fence, create a bond in families. Not only does it feel good to laugh at the familiar, it creates a sense of security. When we laugh together at the same stories, it means we are known. It means we belong to something bigger than just ourselves. It means we are part of a family.

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