Laughter and Specialness: It feels Great

Am I Something Special?

By Melanie Knapp

I walked to the local downtown grocery store. It was interesting to see all of the food,  but I was sad, bored, angry and frustrated. I felt like I was at a loss. Put bluntly I felt a bit like a failure.

I had dealt with feelings like this before. They always seem to take over from time to time. And every time they catch me off guard. I’m not sure what to do to bring about the feeling of capability I long for.

I looked at the vegetables; how could I eat so many fresh vegetables and fruits and still lack energy.  I longed for ‘get up and go’. Even people at the check-out counter looked at my food items and declared me a very healthy eater.

I felt like a mechanical machine buying food, cooking it, digesting it and getting rid of it. All I wanted was to lose weight, eat healthy, share food and have a little fun with recipes. But that’s not what was happening!

A song came on the overhead speaker. I recognized it immediately. I stopped. The thoughts of failure stopped. The negativity stopped.

I smiled. It was Billy Joel singing, ‘The Piano Man’. “Sing me a song you are the piano man, sing me a song tonight.” The song started to take me to another place inside of me. A place that wasn’t hurt, broken or bored.

I let out a nervous laugh which turned into a louder sort of silly laugh. Then I broke into the full out giggles. I felt good about the fifty small piano performances I had volunteered doing for people with illnesses in the past four years. What a relief! I felt that I had accomplished something. I put on small piano shows that cheered people up.

I am so glad I use my talents for something good. I sometimes forget about the things that I can do.

I picked up some nachos with salsa, and some ice tea and walked out of the store. I hummed the song, ‘Piano Man’ as I walked home. When I arrived home I sat at the piano and played with joyous expressions of melodious harmonic resilience.

Laughing At Summer Camp

By Melanie Knapp

It was lunch time on a cloudy day in July. I was working at my fourth summer camp and had quite a knack for the job. I knew children needed a mixture of love and independence. At lunch I liked to visit different tables of children and cheer them up.

I sat beside one girl who seemed a little sad. She was around 10 and had long brown hair. Even her eyes looked sad. I told her lots of things to make her smile. And she smiled sadly. Then I told her how much I loved grilled cheese. She blurted out, “So do I?” and I chuckled.

I looked over to her in the dining hall with over 100 campers. How did we brighten each other up? We shared a love for something so simple. The sadness in her eyes vanished and was replaced by twinkles. Her eyes danced around as we went back to eating our grilled cheese sandwiches.

With each bite we looked at one another. Until it became too much… we both looked at each other and broke out in laughter. Enjoying grilled cheese was the best secret joke. We laughed and laughed. She choked a little. I sputtered a little. We laughed till our stomachs hurt.

I said, “I hope you always love grilled cheese.”

She replied, “I know I will.” “…but there is something more… isn’t it great when two people can become friends?”

I said, “yes, and sometimes that is what camp is about… making friends”

She shyly and quietly said, “Will you be my friend?”

I said, “I would be pleased to be your friend.”

Thanks to the lunch camper, two people, despite age differences,  brought together over a simple love for a grilled cheese sandwich.  I made sure to stop and talk to her every time I saw her after that.

Many people at camp love the simple food served there. It’s special to share food with one another. It’s great to have a break from the activities on the hot summer days. Making friends in the dining hall at summer camp with kids all around was a great victory where we both felt like we had won something important. I have some really fabulous memories for those days!



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