Don’t laugh

Given the fact that I am a silly person in general, I will always believe that the hardest part of being a parent is not laughing at inappropriate moments. While thinking about this, I remembered a time I got in trouble in church as a kid.

I don’t know exactly how old I was, but late elementary school seems about right. I was sitting in church with my family and probably not paying a heck of a lot of attention, when the priest said, “Let us pray.”

I don’t know why, but I heard, “Lettuce prey” and immediately started thinking about what lettuce would eat. Snickering quietly to myself, I began to get mental images of a head of lettuce stalking stealthily through bushes, peering out at its prey and preparing to pounce.
Pretty soon visions of hordes of heads of lettuce wearing black masks and pillaging the countryside were rolling through my head.

“Here comes the Lettuce!” the prey would scream. “Run, run away!”

Apparently my quiet snickering got less than quiet, because my mom started giving me the evil eye, then progressed to out and out glaring at me. The more she glared, the funnier it became, until I couldn’t stand it any longer and had to leave the pew and head into the narthex on the pretense of using the bathroom.

I could barely contain my chuckles to make it out of the huge sanctuary without being heard. Luckily the weather was nice, because I went straight outside and let my laughter go. By the time I had calmed down enough to go back inside, church was just letting out.

My mother marched right up to me and demanded to know what the problem was. All I could do is laugh. Every time she asked something, I would convulse in laughter. It was a long ride home, and we lived 15 minutes away.

Later that day I was finally able to explain to her what had been going on in my head. It made me laugh again, but my mother merely rolled her eyes and announced I was nuts, then let it go.

The following week, we were all sitting in church and I was behaving myself just fine, but preparing myself for what was coming. When the priest said, “Let us pray” I looked down at the floor, looked studiously into my hymnal, and finally, not able to bear it any longer, glanced at my mother.

She was working hard to put her stern parent face on, but I could see it.

Her lips were twitching.