Kevin and the return of humor


I write a lot about those seven magical years my three brothers, The Sister and I spent growing up on Flamingo Street. As kids, having adventures and finding friends were easy. It started as soon as you walked out the front door.

Sadly, as an adult I’ve found with work, family, and life in general time for friends and adventures are things that have been left in the far distant past. That is until now.

Where has all the humor gone? All it took was a worldwide pandemic along with the most contentious election in modern history and, just like that, all the humor has been sucked out of the world.

Well, maybe not all, but it sure seems that way around here – until last August. What happened in August to change things? That’s when humor, with a capital K, came back into our lives in the form of a Kevin. All it took was a wedding.

Back in August, my sister-in-law married a man with a great sense of humor. He’s a head chef, simply loves to cook, and has a budding catering business. An all-around nice guy, he’s perfect for her and makes her very happy. But his name isn’t Kevin. Kevin’s his younger brother. They all live together with their 93-year-old mom in a red brick home in our small town. And their dinner table is only two miles from our front door.

Kevin is just plain funny. His humor is always in good taste, subtle, and woven into everyday conversation when you least expect it. If we’d lost the ability to laugh at ourselves, each another, and the everyday, Kevin found it.

Making lighthearted fun of a situation without hurting anyone’s feelings is truly an art form that he has raised to a masterpiece. But you must listen closely, or his subtlety will be lost. Upon leaving one of his recent dinner parties, The Wife and I were not even out of the driveway before we realized what he’d said. We laughed the rest of the evening. He has a different way of looking at the world, and here are just two examples.

Last week his new sister-in-law needed help moving a large dining room table out of her apartment and was having trouble finding someone to help. The legs of the table were way too long to fit into her car. Always willing, Kevin offered to assist with the move. When it was time to leave, he walked towards the garage instead of the car. When asked why, he answered over his shoulder, “Be right there, just gotta get my chain saw.” Like I said, a very dry sense of humor and very funny.

Last December, as easily as his older brother’s knife sliced through the Christmas prime rib roast, Kevin’s dry wit once again cut through the air. When I asked about the small cup of brown liquid being passed around the table, he replied nonchalantly, “Oh, it’s just gravy.”

I thought his older brother was going to fall out of his chair since he’d spent the last two days making the French demi-glace for the roast which he had smoked for three hours. The “just gravy” should be bottled and sold to the highest bidder. It was simply that good.

Now that we’ve survived 2020, the election and, so far, the pandemic – it’s time we all welcome humor back into our lives. Folks are too on edge – too sensitive about everything. We all need a Kevin in our lives.

Now some of you may be thinking of borrowing ours. Sorry, you’ll have to go find your own; we’re keeping him. Besides, tonight The Wife and Yours Truly have been invited over for dinner. Did I mention along with his dry sense of humor, our Kevin brings something else to the table? He, too, is a fabulous cook. Between him and his brother, we’ll never have to cook again.

[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001.]