Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

All In the Family January 23, 2014

A memory long forgotten. The motivation to run another mile. The last piece to a mysterious puzzle. In a few precious beats, music can evoke so many reactions deep within our hearts and minds. Today it brought laughter to my living room.

It started simply as it always does. The cast of characters is familiar, including my mom, dad, aunt Morgan, grandma and baby Carter. One second Carter was crying, the next he wasn’t. The crying ceased almost instantly upon the start of mom, Morgan and grandma singing.Family

“A stinky foofter is a smelly fart,” they cooed, “it wafts through the air, making nostrils flair. Some will turn away…others sniff, shrug and stay…a stinky foofter is a smelly fart.” And, as if on cue, a baby foofter resonated through the room as the verse drew to a close. It never ceases to amaze me how such a small person can emit such noises. And (even though he had absolutely no idea what was happening) his comic timing was uncanny.

It was a song they made up when mom and her sister were young. For those of you who are unfamiliar, foofter is our family’s word for fart, as it was long ago deemed less offensive than its counterpart in reference to human gas emission. The song is an ode both to the ridiculousness of the word itself, as well as to the quirks of the family.

Everyone knows it could hardly pass as music to anyone other than us. Most people would probably find it to be absolute gibberish. But it doesn’t matter. It worked. Carter stopped crying. And my people were laughing together. In that moment I felt completely overwhelmed with love for my (albeit admittedly quirky) loved ones. Because that’s the thing about family. From the ground up, we love. Wholeheartedly and completely and in spite of (as well as because of) all the things that make us a unique sum of our parts.

“In every conceivable manner, the family is the link to our past, bridge to our future,” suggested American writer Alex Haley.

Today music brought laughter to my living room. And with it came a reminder. Family. We need them for so much. But sometimes we need them for so little. Like a smile. Or a hug. Or, in my case today, a round of laughter thanks to an absolutely ridiculous bit of nonsense.