The mourning of two great wits
Published 3:01 am Wednesday, January 26, 2005
This past weekend America lost one of it's greatest entertainers, Johnny Carson. Carson was probably the biggest influence on my slightly warped and twisted sense of humor outside of my family.
He had the ability to make almost anything funny and he could laugh and make people laugh no matter what was going on.
Both sides of my family are full of people like that. The first person that comes to mind is my granny.
Granny didn't like Carson. I don't know what it was about him she didn't like but I think it had something to do with how many times he was married or something. She hated the idea of divorce and never remarried after Grandaddy died in 1983.
Granny died just a few months ago at the age of 89.
She was legally dead no less than seven times over the course of the last 20 years but she bounced back every time seemingly healthier than most women 20 years her junior. Through it all she was able to laugh and sing and play her harmonica. She was able to joke with the orderlies and nurses who visited her in the hospital, and I can't remember a single time when at least one member of the nursing staff didn't seem almost sad to see her go.
Granny had an ear for the stupid comment and a quick wit with a comeback.
She was deeply religious and had the bible almost memorized. One day a woman tried to argue evolution with her. After several minutes of each of them sharing their views, Granny laughed finally, "I'm pretty sure I'm not descended from monkeys, but if you think you are I sure won't argue." The lady actually acted like she had won the battle not realizing Granny had outwitted her.
Granny was a natural entertainer herself. Like Carson she could see the good in a bad situation or see the bad in a good situation and twist some humor out of them.
Granny grew up with her own brand of southern hospitality. If someone came to rob her she probably would have given them whatever they wanted and then cooked them some dinner.
It didn't matter what racial, religious, political or economic background you came from if you walked through the door of her house you were family and she could pull a smile out of you.
I had a hard time knowing who I was related to growing up because half the people on Lookout Mountain called her Granny Adams. We were such a tight-knit community that as a child I assumed anyone who was on a first name basis with her was an aunt uncle or cousin.
Carson and his brand of on-the-edge humor will be missed by America but I know that there will be few people and few humorists I will miss more than Bernice Adams, my grandmother.
Lee Weyhrich is the Managing Editor of the Atmore Advance. His column appears weekly.