Psalm 126:2 (New International Version)
2 Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations, "The LORD has done great things for them."
Today I’d like to celebrate my grandparents, the Tookies. In truth, my maiden name was Trent but at some point in my childhood my Grandma Trent revealed that my Grandpa Trent’s childhood nickname was Tookie and the name stuck for obvious reasons.
The Tookies consisted of my grandma (Diana),my grandpa (Harold Sr.) and my aunt (Kathy). In a fun twist of fate, Kathy was my dad’s only sibling but being a late entry was four years older than myself.
The Tookies were nuts. Not literal certifiable nuts but full on fantastically fun nuts. They loved me, man did they love me. They were the kind of grandparent nuts that truly and honestly believed that their grandchildren were absolutely perfect. They were sure that poor grades were the teacher’s fault, and that anyone who didn’t adore us was stupid. They believed in junk food and late night scary movies when I spent the night. They believed in Christmas gifts of expensive shiny toys and that it was ok to run outside in your stocking feet. They believed in building tents in the backyard out of the bedspreads from Kathy’s bed.
I must be forthright and tell you that I know this amazing belief system was my Grandma’s doing as my Grandpa spent my childhood sitting in a chair with a furrowed brow saying, “God Diane!” and my Grandma in general responded with “Oh be quiet Harold, we’re having fun.”
And boy, did we have fun!
We had dress up clothes and Kathy, having been personally trained by my Grandma in fun-making; had an endless list of schemes and plans for games and let’s -pretends. We made her canopy bed into a dreamboat and sailed around the world. My grandma kept a supply of Crayolas (the big box with the sharpener!) in her living room end table and would lay on her stomach and color with us.
And we laughed. We laughed ourselves silly. We laughed at each other and ourselves and the neighbors and often, at Grandpa Tookie himself (“God Diane!”). This made us laugh even harder.
We laughed silently with tears running down our faces when my grandpa worked midnights and was asleep in the next room. We laughed loud and obnoxiously when all crowded together in the living room.
We laughed ourselves through holidays and across Greek Town and over pizza and in general straight through the 1970s.
The Tookies had another side though. I mentioned their unflinching belief in our perfection. The Tookies were nuts on another level, they were family nuts. They laughed hard and loved harder. And nobody, NOBODY better mess with one of us or you were messing with all of us.
My Tookies wouldn’t let me suffer for a moment if they had anything to say about it. They were rocks, I always knew where to run if I was in trouble. I knew that with the Tookies, I didn’t have to explain myself or beg for mercy. The Tookies loved me and were ready to open a can of Tookie whoopin’ on anybody who meant me harm.
Sometimes the harm was at my own hand via my own stupidity. Didn’t matter. The Tookies were there to step up and pull me out of the hole I had dug for myself.
The Tookies remind me of Jesus. He doesn’t insist on making us pay for our crimes, He doesn’t sit back and let us squirm. He steps in and does battle for us. He saves us from ourselves and the world. He thinks we’re pretty much great the way we are.
The Tookies taught me to laugh and to love unconditionally. I think God likes that about us Tookies. I think that’s pretty much what the family (of Tookies ) and the Family (of God) is supposed to be doing.
Laughing, living, loving, and standing up to keep each other from harm.
Passion. The Tookies did it all with loud loving passion. I grew up between bookends of laughter and protection.
I’m proud to be a Tookie.
Zechariah 9:8 (New International Version)
8 But I will defend my house against marauding forces.
Never again will an oppressor overrun my people, for now I am keeping watch.