Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Curve of Your Laugh

Driving the girls to dance this evening, I was half listening to an interview on the World Café. A performer started a gentle, acoustic love song with a phrase that sounded, to my partial ear, like "the curve of your laugh."

That can't be the actual lyric, but I think it paints a great sound. It made me think of Karen's sometimes out of control laughter when something catches her just right.

Years ago, my youngest brother Bob and his fiancée, also a Karen, brought home a new family member: a black lab puppy named Sasha. She was a pedigreed dog, a new thing for Karen and me; we're used to mutt cats and mixed breed dogs.

We eagerly read through Sasha's papers, tracing her line back until we reached a forebear named "Quiver of the River."

That's minor silliness, but it started Karen's laugh, an open, joyous, eyes shut, head thrown back giggle-laugh that lasts until the air runs out, then pauses, almost in disbelief, re-gathers itself, and takes off again.

That laugh has lasted for years, as Sasha grew from a gangly young pup, through her frolicking prime, and into a white-muzzled canine crone. All I had to do was say "Quiver of the River" and the laugh would pick up where it left off.

Now, though Sasha is gone, the laugh remains. It can be triggered by the many wonderful and silly things our girls do, or by comic improv (God bless Ryan Stiles), or by a chance gift of goofiness from the cosmos.

And it still has that lovely curve.

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