Friday, August 9, 2013

My Sister Can Laugh Louder Than Your Sister Can

Growing up with two sisters, my life was enriched in immeasurable ways. Childhood was sweeter, the teenage years more bearable, and as an adult, their unconditional love has been a source of untold strength. No matter what is going on in my world, they are there beside me, cheering me on, lifting me up or offering a shoulder to cry on.

They've also been my laughing buddies through the years. If nobody else finds it funny, I know my sisters will.

Early on, people learned that if the Allen sisters got tickled, trying to snap them into seriousness was a total waste of timeeven in church, or at funerals.

Once, while singing for a congregation where Daddy was the guest speaker, something went awry during our rendition (I don't recall exactly what) and Elaine started snickering in her signature way. Of course, Dayle and I soon followed suit, and the longer we sang, the more we snickered, and the more we snickered, the less we sang.

Somewhere around the second stanza, Daddy piped up from behind us in his straightforward style and said, "Girls, either sing or sit down." We quickly became sober and finished the song.

I remember Dayle and I singing at a funeral many moons ago. The service was at the funeral home, and their organ had, undoubtedly, come off the ark. To make matters more unorthodox, it was situated in a little curtained alcove, completely hidden from the crowd.

After Dayle took a brief inventory of Noah's cargo, we huddled around the little microphone and commenced singing "The Unclouded Day," (a song we definitely could've used a bit more practice on).

Within a few bars, we realized the organ was more out of tune than we were, and while I snickered, Dayle sang, and while she snickered, I sang, but soon we were both snickering and nobody sang, and that's when "The Unclouded Day" became one clouded royal mess.

Thankfully, the audience couldn't see that our inability to sing had nothing to do with us mourning the dead.


Of course, life hasn't been one endless heehaw for my sisters and me—we've each suffered personal loss, deep grief and disappointment. But through the tears, the fears and the years, the heaviness in our hearts has never conquered the laughter in our souls. For that, I'm truly grateful.

 Milton Berle once said, "Laughter is an instant vacation." I don't know about you, but I love that description, and I'm pretty sure that my sisters and I "vacation" more than anybody on the planet. And we don't just vacation often, understand, we vacation hard. If you've never heard us cackling like three intoxicated hens, you really have no idea. ♦

"A merry heart doeth good, like a medicine." Proverbs 17:22


  1. I've witnessed it, been involved in it myself and had to go outside the church building to try and gain some sort of composure. LOL Every time I think of the song with the line, I am determined, I can't help but laugh. That one got us a stern look from your mother as she played the organ.

    1. How WELL I remember that!! LOL!! Partner in crime!

  2. Reading this, I was all smiles!

  3. Great memories for SURE!! Everything is funnier in church! There is the unwritten rule that no one should laugh in God's house, but I don't really think HE made that rule. You "girls" are cute and I bet everyone always enjoyed the pretty, singing, Allen Sisters!

  4. I'm grateful to have my laughing sisters around me. Life is richer and sweeter, yes.

  5. Ah, I just have one sister, but I can so relate. In the good and in the pain my sister has always been by my side.