Dicy McCullough: Laughter’s on lunchtime menu again

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 20, 2011

This summer I wrote a story for the Salisbury Post about Laverne McKinney, otherwise known as the joke lady. A couple of weeks after writing the story, I was enjoying lunch at K&W cafeteria with my mom when I noticed Laverne and her husband, P.H. McKinney, on the other side of the room.
It wasnít long until I saw Laverne talking to people at a nearby table. I knew immediately what she was doing. My mom and I had been the recipient of one of Laverneís visits at our table this summer. For those of you who might not know, as a result of a brain tumor years ago, Laverne promised God if he would heal her, she would encourage someone every day. Miraculously, she was healed and has kept her promise by telling jokes and sharing her story of hope and recovery with others.
After watching for a few minutes, I could tell the people at the table were laughing. At that point, I knew Laverne had told her joke. Mom and I were finished with our meal, so I excused myself to go talk with her. As I got closer, I could hear the laughter getting louder and wondered what Laverne had told this time.
Laverne gave me a hug and said she was glad to see me. We then went back to her table, where P.H. was waiting patiently by himself. Laverne was quick to tell me since her story came out in the newspaper, people now think sheís a celebrity. She wanted to know if I was going to write about her again, but P.H. told her it was time to go back to being a regular person and forget about another story. She agreed, and then asked if I would like to hear a joke.
I nodded my head and answered, ěOf course I would.î
Laverne began, ěOne Sunday there was a man who came to church by himself. He came in through the front door, picked up a bulletin and walked to his seat. Since the church was full, the only place he could find to sit down was on the front pew. He sat down and began reading his bulletin. About that time, the announcement was made that the devil was at church. All of a sudden, the front door flung open and there he stood. People were afraid and ran away as fast as they could. Everyone, that is, except for the man on the front pew. He sat calmly just reading his bulletin. The devil walked up to him and said, ëSir. Why are you not afraid of me? Donít you know who I am?í The man looked at him and said, ëYes, I know who you are, but Iím not afraid of you because Iíve been married to your sister for 30 years.í At that point, the devil quietly disappeared out the back door.î
I couldnít help but laugh and wondered where Laverne had heard that one. We then said our goodbyes, and before long, I started to think maybe I should write another story. The joke Laverne told was too good not to share.
A few weeks later, I saw her again at K&W and told her about my decision. In her very quiet but distinctive voice she said, ěThank you. I canít wait until itís in the newspaper.î
If ever thereís a time youíre feeling down and think no one cares, take a trip to K&W cafeteria about lunchtime and you might have the pleasure of a sweet lady coming up to your table and telling a joke. I guarantee itíll make you laugh and maybe help you forget your troubles, at least for a little while.
Laverne, Iím glad you kept your promise to God all these years. Thanks for touching so many lives with your encouraging words and funny jokes, and Laverne, thanks for touching mine.

Dicy McCullough is a childrenís author who lives in Rowan County. Contact her at 704-278-4377 or online at dicymcculloughbooks.com.