By Annie Newcomer:
What is the importance of laughter in life? I looked for an answer and found—
Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain and activates and relieves your stress response.
I met John Hill at a Kansas City Voices' Poetry Reception a decade ago. His partner, Stephany Hughes, was a poetry editor for the publication at the time. John, Stephany, David (my husband), and myself were the four folks laughing wildly (insert the music "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life"), chatting non-stop, and gobbling up all the delicious cookies with the publications' cover design iced on them. Humor and a love for poetry—and/or a love for partners who love poetry—brought us together. Over time, we attended events at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in KC, dined at the Raphael on the Plaza, and took a bus tour to Lawrence, Kansas, to study more in depth about the life of poet Langston Hughes.
After the loss of Stephany, John started sending me his "Wit & Wisdom" sayings. Thinking that you might enjoy them too, I asked him to share a little bit about himself and also to include some of his humorous bits for our Flapper Press audience. Enjoy, dear readers.
From John Hill, currently residing in Excelsior Springs, Missouri:
Last November on a whim, I started to write these bits of wit on Facebook. They were well-received by my friends. See, I believe that Humor is just a different way of looking at things. I don't want us to be too wrapped up in ourselves. Let yourself laugh is my feeling.
I was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and the years I was supposed to be growing up were spent in Cherokee, Iowa (not much success at growing up, for as my witty saying says, "I am a really good bad example of getting old & growing up").
I am a Vietnam vet with the U.S. Air Force, where I was a medic. Blessed with 3 children, I have also experienced pain of loss and am a widower for the second time. I love to travel, and in the last 11 years have visited every one of our adjoining 48 states. My working career was a road map dotted with many jobs. Endowed with a strong work ethic, I enjoyed working. I am a very devout Catholic, and my motto in life is "God is 1st. You are 2nd. I am third." Got that from Danny Thomas (founder of St. Jude's Hospital).
I love life, and every night I go to bed and can't wait for morning to arrive to find what the next day will bring. I guess as far as politics, I lean a little left. I think that if we work together, we can move mountains. Working alone, we get nowhere. To me, everybody counts.
I have found Annie and her husband, David, to be wonderful people, and I consider them two of my dearest friends. (Annie wanted me to be sure to include that she didn't pay me to say this.)
Hope you enjoy my "Wit & Wisdom."
The Wit and Wisdom of John Hill
The bigger they come, the harder they fall. Of course, it is harder to make them fall.
Yogi Berra said, "When you get to the fork in the road take it." Good idea, especially if it has a piece of steak on it.
"Hey, let's keep Christmas going for a while yet, not the tree or lights, but the love and kindness that seems to appear at Christmas. There is no hurry in ending it today or tomorrow.
It is bad enough when you try and BS everyone, but it is really sad when you try and BS yourself.
On this Thanksgiving, put all the good you have had in your life on one end of a teeter totter and all the bad on the other. The good will throw the bad to the moon.
There are 3 sides to most issues, right, wrong, and the middle. The middle is invisible to most.
The worst death imaginable would be to choke to death on something you do not like. Example, me eating fish.
Some people got it and some don't. I just happen to be one of them.
If you get caught driving in a blinding rainstorm and the wipers won't keep up, turn around and drive backwards. The back window is always clear.
The eternal optimist, I have my sock up again for Christmas. So far some kind of bug and a couple of mice.
Ever notice how the English language is hard to figure out sometimes? Take my name for example, John, simple 4-letter word, but it can be pronounced so many different ways. Some people pronounce it jerk, a--hole, dumb a—, stupid, and others.
If laughter is the best medicine, I should sell it like a drug company and be rich. People just laugh at me for being me.
I sometimes wonder if I am normal. Case in point, when I am driving along and people pass me in such a hurry to sit at a stop light. I don't like to sit at stop lights.
My take on cars or trucks: what it looks like and how it feels is a matter of opinion, but how it's made is a matter of fact.
I am starting to believe in the theory of evolution. I don't, however, think everyone evolved from monkeys, but I do think many evolved from sheep, the way they can be led so easily.
TODAY is the first and last time you will see it. Better live it.
Funny thing is, I don't get older. Want proof, you say? Well, as a person gets older, they get wiser and more mature. I show no symptoms.
One good thing about the pandemic for me has been that I never thought I was very smart. But watching some people's reaction to the pandemic makes me think, "Hey, I am not that dumb after all."
Seems to me that those who think it is every man for himself need to be prepared to be humbled, and maybe in a not-so-good way.
I guess it is time to tell everyone what I want for Christmas. Here it is: I want everyone to smile at everyone they see all this week. It doesn't cost anything, and the rewards are priceless.
Seems to me that some people feel comfortable being miserable. Very sad.
No matter what it is, 100 years from now it won't matter to you.
I am a perfectionist limited by ability.
No matter what challenges life throws at me, it is not going to beat me. It might win some battles, but not the war.
There is only one thing I can do about winter and that is complain, and I will do much more than my share. No need to thank me.
I changed the name of my threshold to my fresh hold. I leave my troubles at it no matter what way I go through it.
When it comes to games of chance, I am the luckiest guy. Of course it is bad luck, but still.
There are only 2 things about me that keep me from being well liked. 1) everything I say, and 2) everything I do. How many can say they only have 2 faults?
I am a really good bad example.
I wonder about folks who long for the good 'ole days. They're missing out on some good times right now.
I just saw one of those posts about how good the old days were compared to now. Sure is a different memory than I have.
Well, tried that dancing again last night. Kept stepping on my own feet.
Me and my 2 left feet went to a dance last night. As luck would have it, I met a lady with 2 right feet. Didn't work. I went left. She went right. It was quite a sight.
One good thing about memories, they can be selective.
I tried taking myself serious once. What a joke.
Annie Newcomer teaches poetry classes at the University of Kansas Medical Center's Turning Point—a place for hope and healing for people suffering with chronic health problems. Her North Stars series shares interviews with poets and writers and Annie's own experiences through writing. Annie also helms the Flapper Press Poetry Café—dedicated to celebrating poets from around the world and to encouraging everyone to write poetry!