Opinion Columns & Blogs

God bless those who make me laugh

I know some people, good people, who hardly ever laugh. I’m thinking about a man I know to whom I have told something funny (I thought really funny) on several occasions, and he reacted like he smelled something unpleasant. That’s sad to me.

My feeling is that two of God’s greatest gifts are friends who make you laugh and you enjoying laughing. Sometimes I laugh so hard that tears come to my eyes. Laughter makes me happy and makes me feel good.

Today, I’m going to tell you about some funny folks and some of the things they said or did which really made me laugh.

I’ll start with Mary Sue Nunn, George’s older sister. She and I went 12 years of school together. I always tried to sit by her in class because she was so funny.

Mary Sue’s story about our telling our classmates in Mrs. Bledsoe’s sixth-grade class what we got for Christmas was a classic. Mary Sue reported, in great detail, about the doll and the doll’s clothes she got, and the girl behind her (she had probably repeated a grade or two) told of the engagement ring she got. Mary Sue makes it really funny.

I guess it runs in the family because Judge George Nunn is funny, too. His poems are classics and funny unless you happen to be the subject matter of one of them, which I was about 15 years ago. Then it’s not too funny. Well, it was to everyone but me.

And speaking of judges, I must mention our senior federal District Court Judge Hugh Lawson. He’s funny. In fact, I have a copy of a letter he wrote on Dec. 11, 1987, to Wiles Manufacturing Inc. It’s the funniest letter I’ve ever read.

Mr. Glea Gray, Billy’s dad and Mike’s granddad, was hilarious. He had so many funny stories (I know most of them by heart), and I wish I could hear him tell them one more time. The one about the hogs under the house that he lived in as a boy, running at the same time and moving the house two feet off the foundation is one that I’ll get him to tell me, again, if I see him in heaven.

Two of my best friends, now gone, were funny in different ways. Jerry “Do-Tricks” Horton was slapstick funny. It wasn’t so much what he said, as what he did. You wanted to be around him, but you were a little nervous because you didn’t know what he’d do next. Jerry Wilson was clever but subtle. You had to be pretty sharp to catch it, but if you did, you were in for a treat — a delicious treat. I miss both of them.

During my long tenure in the Georgia House of Representatives, I think the funniest person I served with was Buddy DeLoach from Hinesville. He was and is a great storyteller. And he had funny things to tell. Often a good sense of humor and being a good storyteller go together. Lots of being funny depends on how well you tell it, and how well you tell it often depends on being able to throw in a little humor at the right time.

While I was in the Legislature, and until this day, one of my great friends was that outstanding lawyer from Uvalda named Hugh McNatt. He knows funny stories, and knows how to tell ‘em. He is one of the best I have ever heard. Get Hugh and former Judge Marion T. Pope together, and you will experience a great time. I should try to get them together soon. Judge Pope’s “The Most Beautiful Woman in Biloxi, Mississippi” is a classic. And Hugh has one about a man being tried in a court in Charleston, South Carolina.

Let’s see: Buddy DeLoach, Hugh McNatt and Marion T. Pope. Well, I’m missing the sage of Enigma, Georgia, Bobby Rowan. His stories are legendary, and he knows how to tell ‘em. In all due respect to former state Sen. George Hooks, I do believe that Bobby’s imitation of former governor and U.S. Sen. Herman Talmadge is the best. But some of George’s stories will leave everyone convulsing with laughter.

Former Gov. Roy Barnes has lots of interesting and really funny stories. Also, former Rep. Chuck Sims, a great friend of mine, is really good. Get Chuck to tell you about the Coffee County twins: Big Un – 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds and Least Un – 5-foot-8 and 125 pounds. At least that’s the way I remember it.

I’d like to invite my friends who never laugh to hear some of them tell their tales. They’d have to laugh unless, of course, they smelled something unpleasant.

Larry Walker is a practicing attorney in Perry. He served 32 years in the Georgia General Assembly and presently serves on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. Email: lwalker@whgmlaw.com.