Topher Payne and The Perfect Arrangement

Topher Payne is the author of more than a dozen plays,

including Perfect ArrangementSwell PartyThe Only Light in Reno, and Tokens of Affection. The American Theatre Critics Association awarded him the 2014 Osborn Prize, which recognizes their choice for top emerging playwright in the country. He has been named Atlanta’s Best Playwright by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Creative Loafing, The GA Voice, and The Sunday Paper. David Magazine named him Atlanta’s Artist of the Year. He has also won the Metro Atlanta Theatre Award for Best Original Work and Best Play of the Year, the Essential Theatre Playwriting Prize, the Gene-Gabriel Moore Playwriting Award, and the National Newspaper Association Award for his column, Domestically Disturbed. He has been commissioned twice for original productions at The State Theatre of Georgia, The Springer Opera House, and in 2013 made his New York debut with a production of his play The Medicine Showdown in Manhattan.

A native of Kosciusko, Mississippi, Topher wrote his first play,

Beached Wails, while working as a scene shop intern at Jackson’s New Stage Theatre. His career as a playwright was launched, although he can still build a sturdy platform when called upon to do so. As an actor, Topher has appeared in the national tour of Greater Tuna and A Tuna Christmas, played David Frost in The Springer Opera House’s production of Frost/Nixon, and gave Melissa McCarthy a makeover in Universal Pictures’ blockbuster hit Identity Thief.

Were you active in drama as a child?

I was active in drama; all I was missing was a stage. Kosciusko didn’t include performing arts as part of their curriculum- I did have some opportunities through the Methodist church, but I didn’t have much of an outlet for those energies. Fortunately, my family had a video camera, and we had a back yard, so I’d write screenplays and force all of my cousins and friends to act them out. Last Christmas, my parents had all the VHS tapes transferred to DVD, so I got to experience those again for the first time in over twenty years. It was a humbling experience.

Do you think drama is important in schools?

Look, we were all teenagers once. That’s when you’re figuring yourself out, you don’t recognize your own body, the world is simultaneously too big and too small- it’s a very self-centered time. The beauty of having drama as an outlet is that it forces a young person to literally walk in someone else’s shoes. It reinforces empathy and compassion, helps them consider perspectives outside their own experience. And they learn to have confidence in their own voices and opinions before we send them out into the world, which I believe is particularly crucial for young women.

How does Topher Payne the actor differ from Topher Payne the playwright?

As a playwright, my job is to craft a road map for others to interpret and follow. As an actor, I’m part of the gang doing the interpretation. But both rise from the same impulse- I’m a storyteller. I believe the right words, said to the right people, at the right time, can change the world.

Has the 2014 Osborn New Play Award affected your life as a playwright?

There are so many undiscovered playwrights doing great work all over the country. It’s an uphill battle just getting your work noticed. So it’s an incredible gift when someone shines a spotlight on you for a little while, and people pay attention. That’s been the big change, I suppose. Right now, I’ve got people’s attention, and I’m just trying to make the most of it.

“I’m a Mississippian. My need to communicate with the world through stories is dug out of the same red dirt which inspired Tennessee Williams, Ida Bell Wells, Eudora Welty, Beth Henley, Richard Wright, William Faulkner, Oprah Winfrey…people whose words shaped our culture and our country. The MAEC is so essential, because the people of Mississippi deserve to have a place where that heritage can be celebrated, and where the next generation of voices can go to be inspired.”  This was first published as a Mississippi Arts & Entertainment Center interview. Visit the MAEC HERE

OFF-BROADWAY

PERFECT ARRANGEMENT

(in association with MARS Theatricals)

New York Premiere by TOPHER PAYNE

Directed by MICHAEL BARAKIVA September – November, 2015

In Topher Payne’s biting comedy, Perfect Arrangement, it’s the 1950s and the age of the Red Scare. The Martindales and the Baxters have manufactured a life as peppy as a sitcom, right down to the corny jokes and occasional product placement… but when a co-worker at the US State Department discovers their deepest secret, the worlds of “I Love Lucy” and Edward R. Murrow clash in hilarious, ironic, and genuinely moving ways. Read more HERE!

 

 

Roger Stolle: Keeping Delta Blues Alive

Roger Stolle must never sleep!

His Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art store has been labelled “one of the 17 coolest record stores in America” (Paste magazine) and is included in “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” (Workman Press). His music/video productions include Moonshine & Mojo Hands web TV show, We Juke Up In Here DVD/CD, M for Mississippi DVD/CD, Hard Times DVD, Live at Seventy Five CD, Round Two CD, Club Caravan CD, Jack Daniel Time CD, etc. He is production assistant for various Broke & Hungry Records projects, an artist liaison for Blues Divas concert film and he has also been quoted in The New York Times, Travel + Leisure, The Economist, and more. His music industry credentials include:

  • Keeping The Blues Alive Award recipient (Blues Foundation)
  • Blues Music Award recipient and 7-time nominee (Blues Foundation)
  • Founder/owner Cat Head Delta Blues & Folk Art, Inc., Cat Head Presents recording label and the founder of Cat Head Mini Blues Fest
  • Co-owner Three Forks Music, LLC and co-founder of Juke Joint Festival, Clarksdale, MS, Clarksdale Film Festival, Clarksdale, MS, Clarksdale Caravan Music Fest, and Delta Busking Festival, Clarksdale, MS • Board member Clarksdale Downtown Development Assoc., WROX Museum, Clarksdale, MS, Clarksdale Revitalization, Inc., GrowDelta Advisory Board
  • Partner in Three Forks Music, LLC.
  • Member Blues Foundation and Clarksdale Chamber of Commerce

  • Photo by Dusty Scott

Tell us briefly, if you can, your journey with Cat Head Delta Blues and Folk Art?

I grew up in Dayton, Ohio, and stumbled into advertising after college. I was recruited for a management position in St. Louis in February 1995 and, as a long-time blues music fan, started visiting Mississippi in search of the real deal. My first juke joint experience was around 1996 when I spent a night at Junior Kimbrough’s place in Chulahoma, Mississippi. He played. RL Burnside played. Their kids and grandkids played. It was an all local crowd. The walls were covered with folk art, and moonshine was passed around. It was like walking into a history book — kind of an “Alan Lomax” moment. After that, I knew that blues was more than just a musical genre. It was the voice of a culture. Through my seven or so years of visiting Mississippi from St. Louis, I slowly zeroed in on Clarksdale as the center of it all — both past and present. The buildings, museums and history were all here. The problem was that the downtown business district was in the throes of death, and the live blues was only maybe two nights a week then. So, I decided to get involved. After a 13-year marketing career, I quit my awesome Corporate America gig and moved to Clarksdale to “organize and promote the blues from within”. I started by opening Cat Head — “Mississippi’s blues store — before going on to start new blues festivals, produce blues CDs, direct blues films, write a blues book, do blues radio work and so on. I try to pull the real-deal, culturally-connected blues scene together just enough to promote it to the worlds by all means necessary. Folks can read more about my journey and mission at www.cathead.biz.

What has been your greatest achievement as a advocate for the arts?

I suppose my blues career — if that is even a phrase– highlights include co-founding Clarksdale’s Juke Joint Festival and co-producing the film M for Mississippi. Those are the things most people know me for, outside of my Cat Head store itself. But, honestly, I think my biggest achievement is working with our local blues musicians and venues to finally bring live blues to Clarksdale seven nights a week. Twelve years ago when I opened my doors, we had what I used to call the “two-hour visitor to Clarksdale” most days of the week. They would visit the Delta Blues Museum, eat lunch at the then-new Ground Zero Blues Club, maybe shop Cat Head and then hit the road for Memphis or New Orleans. I realized early on that it was the town with the nighttime music that got the overnight visitor. Today, Clarksdale has live blues seven nights a week, around 8 festivals a year and two-full time blues museums. The downtown has new stores, galleries, restaurants and overnight accommodations. Collectively, we’ve really made an amazing turnaround.

What is your greatest challenge?

Ha! Well, frankly… the biggest challenge with any blues-related endeavor is making a living. Tourism is an up and down business. It waxes and wanes with the season and the economy. And, of course, blues has never been the easiest way to make your first million. Still, I’ve been doing this for over a decade now, and I’m here to stay. I love it.

What about the Mississippi Blues moves you?

That’s a great question. I’m a white guy who grew up in the suburbs of Ohio. Why on earth does Mississippi blues appeal to me and move me in the way it does? I don’t know. I guess you could ask Elvis or Eric Clapton or Jack White the same question. I certainly didn’t grow up within the cultural context of blues. I think it has something to do with the honesty and truth in blues music. Blues is much more about feeling than technique or structure. I think all of us can relate to the feeling contained within the music. Maybe some of us just get a little more into than others.

In your book Hidden History of the Mississippi Blues, is there one story that stands out?

It’s hard to pick just one story, but I guess one that sent shivers down my spine was the story of Mark “Mule Man” Massey’s time at the infamous Parchman Farm. Here’s a guy who went to prison as a bit of a troublemaker and came out a bluesman. Parchman gave him the blues, for sure, but he literally learned to play the music while behind bars.

How important are music and other art forms in our schools?

You know, for a while, the State of Mississippi was running an ad campaign that said something like, “Yes. We can read in Mississippi. A few of us can even write.” The photos showed famous Mississippi authors like William Faulkner, John Grisham, Tennessee Williams and Richard Wright. The musical version of the campaign pictured everyone from Elvis to Muddy Waters. If we want to continue to turn out so many of the world’s great authors, musicians and artists, then it is important that we prioritize arts programs in our schools. We also need to support after-school programs such as the Arts & Education Program at Clarksdale’s Delta Blues Museum. Education and exposure — to me, those are the two words to talk about. Kids today can Google everything. They can listen to any kind of music they want at the touch of a button, but if no one guides them to America’s blues music foundation, then they’re likely to just listen to whatever the Corporate suits want them to hear. How can we make something new if we don’t know where we came from?

What’s next for you?

Our newest project is a blues web series called Moonshine & Mojo Hands. It will stream on-line for free starting next year at www.moonshineandmojohands.com. It builds upon our past “blues road-trip” films M for Mississippi and We Juke Up in Here. Essentially, we bring viewers on the road with us to visit blues musicians, culture and history around the Magnolia State.

“I love what the folks at Mississippi Arts & Entertainment Center (MAEC) are doing. MAEC is doing what all of us should be doing in our big or small ways — promoting the who, what, when and where of Mississippi’s arts and entertainment worlds. I look forward the Center’s big opening in 2017.”  Visit MAEC HERE

PHOTOS/CREDITS:

passport photo by Chuck Lamb

closeup of face by Lou Bopp

Roger Stolle w/bluesman Lucious Spiller (B&W) by Jerry Manning

Roger Stolle w/Josh “Razorblade” Stewart and “Moonshine & Mojo Hands” co-producer Jeff Konkel by Lou Bopp

Roger Stolle w/beer and RL Boyce by Lou Bopp

Roger/store photo art by Chuck Lamb

Roger w/T-Model Ford at Red’s Lounge by me (selfie Instagram)

Roger w/”M for Mississippi” projected on me (pre-film premiere) by Brian Cahn

Roger at messy desk at Cat Head by Hugues Marly.

Roger receiving Blues Music Award by Dusty Scott.

photo of just store front by Chuck Lamb.

The Hwy 80 Songwriters Fest – Building Community and Economic Development

To learn about the Hwy 80 Songwriters Fest, you must first learn about The Montgomery Institute (TMI).

With a mission to “upbuild the people and places of the East Mississippi and West Alabama region guided by the leadership legacy of G. V. ‘Sonny’ Montgomery” TMI undertakes initiatives in leadership development, rural place building, educational enhancement, workforce development, research and information dissemination, regional cooperation, and innovation. Working with partners to engage citizens, identify place building champions, and create regional networks of place builders, TMI seeks out resources and opportunities for innovation that will help partners do better, for the benefit of the people and places in West Alabama and East Mississippi.  Twice, in 2003 and 2010, the 13-state Southern Growth Policies Board presented TMI its “Innovator Award” in recognition of its innovative approaches to region and place building. The Hwy 80 Songwriters Fest was born out of one of these initiatives, namely the West Alabama East Mississippi (WAEM) Mayors Network.  http://tmi.ms/

The seed of the Fest was planted during a WAEM luncheon facilitated by TMI.

The inaugural 2013 Hwy Songwriters Fest began as two “Musical Appetizers,” one in Demopolis, Alabama on July 6 and one in Meridian, Mississippi on September 17. The Demopolis event hosted 19 songwriters from Alabama and Mississippi in three rounds on the Demopolis courthouse lawn. The Meridian event hosted 13 songwriters in Dumont Plaza in downtown Meridian. All but one were from outside Lauderdale County. From the first fest in 2013, the goals and outcomes were to expand the songwriter’s platform and territory, provide education in the songwriting craft for songwriters of all ages and levels of expertise, to build and support the creative economy in West Alabama and East Mississippi, and to ignite the public’s understanding and appreciation for songwriters and their craft. Songwriter rounds in Mississippi/Alabama venues, the Grand Finale, the professional songwriting workshop and songwriting in the schools accomplished these goals. In fact, several Mississippi songwriters were invited to perform in other Alabama venues and Alabama artists were invited to play in Mississippi venues.

With the 2014 Fest, the committee moved into the expansion and progression phase, adding the educational component with songwriters going into Poplar Springs School and Northeast Elementary School in Meridian to work the students on the craft of songwriting and writing their own song. The activities helped students improve reading, writing, comprehension and critical thinking skills. Also offered was a two-hour songwriting workshop at Rhythm & Brews, Downtown Meridian on October 25 from 2 – 4 p.m. Facilitated by Marty Gamblin, Executive Director of the Mississippi Arts & Entertainment Center and the world-renown Ralph Murphy, Vice President of ASCAP and author of Murphy’s Laws of Songwriting. James Walton “Walt” Aldridge, Jr., an American musician, singer, songwriter, engineer and record producer, also helped facilitate the workshop. He has written dozens of hit country songs including the Number One hits “(There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me” by Ronnie Milsap (1981), “Holding Her and Loving You” by Earl Thomas Conley (1982), “Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde” by Travis Tritt (2000), and “I Loved Her First” (2006) – recorded by Heartland. He is listed as a “Music Achiever” by the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, which is a precursor to future induction, and has been awarded a star on their Walk of Fame. Also involved in the workshop was Bob Regan, a Grammy and Dove Award nominated songwriter based in Nashville Tennessee, participated in the workshop round with Ralph and Walt.  Bob has had over 200 songs recorded by such contemporary artists as Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, Jake Owen and Rodney Atkins as well as legendary artists ranging from Don Williams to Hank Williams Jr. to Andy Williams, from Kenny Rogers to cowboy legend Roy Rogers. In 2009, Bob’s song “Dig Two Graves”, by Randy Travis, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Country Song. 2, 3, 4. This extensive workshop covered how to write songs and the business of songwriting.

The 2014 fest rounds began in Demopolis on the courthouse lawn.

In Meridian, three venues, Faces Lounge, The Brickhaus Bar & Grill and Weidmann’s Restaurant became the stages for the 19 songwriters Friday and Saturday night. The 2014 Hwy Fest Meridian rounds included Dexter Allen toured with Bobby Rush for 3 years as lead guitarist, was inducted into the Mississippi Artist Roster and devotes time conducting Blues in School workshops sponsored by The Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame in area schools throughout Mississippi. Cary Hudson made Gibson guitar’s “Top 10 Alt Country Guitarists” list in 2008. Steve Deaton recorded and performed with Buffalo Nickel and has shared the stage with the likes of Wilco, Maroon 5, Junior Brown, and Leon Russell. Scott Albert Johnson, accompanied by Chalmers Davis, was one of the “Hot 100” Harmonica Players worldwide by The Harmonica Company (U.K.); He also received a 2013-2014 Performing Arts Fellowship from the Mississippi Arts Commission. Bob Ray, an award winning singer-songwriter from the hills of north Mississippi, has twice been named a Kerrville Folk Festival – New Folk Songwriting Finalist. He has been a finalist in both the Ozark Folk Festival Songwriters Festival and the Gum Tree Song Festival. Christina Christian, an indie/country artist and songwriter from Foley, Ala., picked up the guitar at 12 years old, and began writing her own music at 16. Taylor Craven began writing songs as a hobby and soon was performing in songwriting festivals across the south, including the Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival and winning contests, including recently both a 3rd place and honorable mention award in American Songwriters Magazine. He was selected to play in the first ever Gulf Coast Songwriters Shootout in 2014. He’s a 2014 top ten contestant in the Texas Troubadour Songwriter Classic, judged and selected by Ray Wylie Hubbard. Taylor is also a co-founder and current member of the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Songwriters Festival, which was established in 2010. Sydney Beaumont began writing and producing her own music early in 2009 and formed Sydney Beaumont Band as a vehicle to showcase songs and also with goal to license and sell music. Sydney performed for Nashville “Play for Publishers” workshop and with other writers at Richards Café and also performed at the famous Bluebird Café. Alphonso Sanders is the Chair of Fine Arts and Director of the BB King Recording Studio at Mississippi Valley State University.  He has performed with such artist as Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry, Mulgrew Miller, Rhonda Richmond, Cassandra Wilson, Paula West, Debra Brown, Bobby Rush, David Lee Durham, The Four Tops, and David “Honey Boy” Edwards among others. He is recipient of the 2010 MAC Folk Arts Fellowship; the 2011 Mississippi Humanities Award and is published in Big City Rhythm & Blues magazine 2011 (UK); the book “Musicians Up and the Delta”; and “Down in the Woods” a documentary of the legendary bluesman Willie King.  He is also an award winner in the 2009 and 2010 International Blues Challenge and was selected by the Delta Blues Society as the 2013 Blues Musician of the Year. These are the caliber of songwriters you discover at the Hwy 80 Songwriters Fest!

The 2015 Fest, after careful evaluation of the past two years changed its date to coincide with the Demopolis venue,

which connects to its annual Freedom on the River July 4th weekend. However, before the rounds began, on June 22, songwriters worked students at The Meridian Freedom Project in Meridian. In October, they will conduct songwriting workshops with the 4th and 5th grades in October 2015 at Poplar Springs School.

The Mississippi rounds began with a new round at Hal & Mal’s (see round list below) in Jackson on Wednesday July 8 and in Newton on July 11 (see round list below. The night of July 16 local songwriter rounds were held at News and Squealers Restaurants (see round list below) in North Meridian. On July 17, rounds with Mississippi/Alabama songwriters from outside of Lauderdale County returned to Weidmann’s and Brickhaus Bar and Grill (see round list below).

Saturday, July 18, the songwriting workshop facilitated by Alphonso Sanders and Marty Gamblin was at Meridian’s historic Soule Steam Feed Works Museum.  Open Mic started at 5:00 p.m. and welcomed all ages, all levels and all genres to stage.  Alphonso backed up every songwriter with either Sax, trumpet, flute or harmonica. The Grand Finale of professional songwriters started at 7:30 and included Scott Albert John and Tony Sant’Angelo, Ron Etheridge, Thomas Jackson, K. D. Brosia and Alphonso Sanders. The caliber of the 2015 songwriters remained as high as the 2014 Songwriters with some of the same songwriters returning this year.  All rounds will bring more business into popular community venues. The Grand Finale location in Meridian showcased the beautiful historic buildings of Soule and most songwriters plan to return for the Soule Steamfest in November.

The Hwy 80 Songwriters Fest gathered communities, cultures, social groups and all ages together in one setting where music spoke a universal language and stories touched the deepest place within us all. The Fest was made possible through the generous contributions of these sponsors and grantees:

The Mississippi Arts Commission

Visit Meridian

The Mississippi Writers Guild

The Mississippi Arts & Entertainment Center

Mitchell Distributing

Meridian Main Street

MEDIA SPONSORS:

WTOK TV, The CW, My-TOK2, Bounce TV, Cozi TV

The Radio People, The Meridian Family of Stations, New South Radio, SuperTalk Mississippi, 106.9 the Eagle, WMOX 1010

The Meridian Star, Lamar Outdoor Advertising, Premier Outdoor Advertising

 

The 2015 Rounds

Demopolis, AL Courthouse lawn, July 3

Derek Norsworthy

Cristina Christian

Alan Hartzel

Britt Gully

Mel Knapp

Shawn Pfaffman

Melissa Joiner

Megan McMillan

Steve Wilkerson

July 8 Hal & Mal’s, Jackson, MS

David Vincent/Richelle Putnam

The Stonewalls

Zac Clarke

July 11  Newton, MS Church Street Market

Jacky Jack White

John Marshall/Terry Cherry

Chuck Luke

Local Songwriters – Meridian – July 16

SQUEALER’S

A’keela Hudnall

Earl Aycock, Jr.

Red Bird

Chad Fuller

NEWS RESTAURANT

Richelle Putnam

Terry Cherry

John Paul Dove

Josh Burton

July 17 Weidmann’s, Meridian, MS

Robert Daniels

Stephen Lee Veal

Bob Ray

Brickhaus, Meridian, MS

Sydney Beaumont

Michael Hughes

Taylor Craven

SATURDAY WORKSHOP – 2 – 4 p.m.

Soule Steamworks, Meridian, MS

Master of Hwy 80 Songwriters Fest Saturday Ceremonies – MAEC Executive Marty Gamblin

Hwy 80 Songwriters Fest Workshop Facilitator – Dr. Alphonso Sanders, Chair of Fine Arts and Director of the BB King Recording Studio at Mississippi Valley State University.

Open Mic:

4:30 – 6:30 p.m. (All songwriter/musicians, all ages, all levels welcome  to participate. Sign-up, play two songs, sign-up and play again, if time permits!

SATURDAY NIGHT ROUND July 18

Soule Steamworks, Meridian, MS

Scott Albert Johnson

Thomas Jackson

Ron Etheredge

K. D. Brosia

GRAND FINALE

Alphonso Sanders

 

Laughter: Still Good Medicine

Even after 20 years, I laugh when remembering a Psychologists’ conference I attended.

On the program was Enda Junkins, MSW, LCSW, known as the Laughing Psychotherapist. For the first minute of her speech, she merely laughed, “ha ha ha.” Before long, the whole audience, as uncomfortable and confused as we were (and not necessarily the merriest people as a group), began to laugh, too. She then shared her unique, practical, and memorable ideas for creating laughter as a tool for healing emotional distress.

In 1964, Norman Cousins was given a few months to live after being diagnosed with a rare disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis. He was told he had a 1 in 500 chance of survival. Cousins researched his disease, left the hospital and checked himself into a hotel. He found a doctor who would work with him as a team member and as a result of his research, Cousins began to get injections of massive doses of vitamin C. He also took a pile of funny movies including the Marx Brothers and “Candid Camera” shows. He spent his time watching these films and laughing until his stomach hurt. He wrote about his experience in Anatomy of an Illness, lived 26 more years, and died at the age of 75.

Norman Cousins’ writing sparked research designed to gather evidence about whether laughter is good medicine that can be used as a tool for healing. He also ignited the movement which encourages people to take a greater role in their own healthcare. While not many doctors would treat such a serious illness in this manner, the research began.

Over the years, researchers conducted studies to explore the impact laughter has on health.

To date, they have found that laughter helps to reduce pain, decreases stress-related hormones and boosts the immune system in participants. It decreases isolation, allows us to bond with other people and eases our loneliness. Laughing reduces anger,  aggression and conflict, relieves anxiety, physical and emotional pain and makes us feel happier. And laughter is contagious.

Have you ever walked into a scene where people were laughing and without knowing what the laughing is about, you began to laugh too or at least smile? We laugh at the sound of laughter. That’s why the Tickle Me Elmo toys have been so successful. Try as we may, even though we know it’s not real, we can’t avoid laughing at that infectious laugh.

We were born with the gift of laughter.

It’s part of the universal human vocabulary and doesn’t have to be learned like English, Spanish or French. We are born with the capacity to laugh. And kids ages 5 and 6, beat all of us with their exuberant laughter.

According to Robert Provine, Ph.D., professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. “We are a serious nation with serious people who have serious health problems, many of which are related to stress. Laughter relieves stress. Laughter is a natural medicine. Above all else, it’s fun. It gives us back our playfulness, a characteristic of all mankind. It can help us feel more alive and empowered.”

What’s a Person To Do?

Seek out people and entertainment who make you belly laugh.

  • Hang out with folks who sing silly songs, tell jokes (as long as they aren’t putting others down) and find the irony in every day life.
  • Develop your own repertoire of jokes, poems, limericks, or songs so you can bring life to the party or family gathering.
  • Laugh at your mistakes, your embarrassing moments and your failures. The lightened mood makes it easier to make things right.
  • Rather than sucking the fun out of others’ joy, laugh with them.
  • See if this joke makes you laugh:

 A man lumbered into the soda fountain and ordered a banana split. In obvious pain, he gingerly lowered himself on the stool as the waitress cut the banana in half, added 3 half scoops of ice cream (one chocolate, one vanilla, one strawberry). She poured on hot fudge syrup, and spooned on pineapples, added some whipped cream and a few fresh strawberries. Nearly finished, as she put the cherry in the middle of her creation, she looked up at him and asked “cracked nuts?” “No,” he said. “Arthritis.” Read more HERE

 

If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours. For a while at least, it will make this a happier place.

 

© Rachell N. Anderson, Psy. D.,  March 7, 2015

Dr. Rachell Anderson is a native of Tunica, a licensed Clinical Psychologist, a Professor Emeritus and author. She taught at the University of Illinois and ran a Private Clinical Practice in Springfield, Illinois for many years. She now lives and writes in Tunica, Mississippi. Check out her website  for more articles and books.

Photo courtesy of Free Digital Photos and Stock Images.