Ole and Lena and Dad

 Garrison KeillorImage via Wikipedia

I was listening to a Garrison Keillor podcast the other day and he was telling some “Ole and Lena” jokes.  Now unless you are from the Midwest and probably older than 70 (or have parents who are in that age group), you might not be familiar with Ole and Lena.  Ole and Lena can be Norwegian, Finnish, or Swedish, depending on who is telling the joke, but suffice it to say that they are always Scandinavian. My dad grew up in Wisconsin and my mom was from Minnesota, prime Ole/Lena territory.

Dad had a large repertoire of these jokes but he usually only told them when we kids were in bed or out of the room.  You see, many of these jokes were a tad risque, at least to my young, tender ears.  Yet, I can remember him holding forth to the delight of aunts and uncles gathered out on the back lawn on the farm on hot summer nights.  I’d be hunkered down upstairs by an open window, straining to hear what was going on amidst the laughter.  Dad was a great storyteller.

Here’s a nice, tame Ole and Lena joke for you:

Ole is in bed, dying.  He’s incredibly ill and really on his last leg.  Then he smells the wonderful aroma of Lena’s homemade rhubarb pie.  It’s his favorite dessert.  He falls out of bed and crawls down the hallway to the kitchen, so weak that he has to literally drag his body since he can’t even walk.

When he gets to the kitchen, there it is….a rhubarb pie cooling on the counter.  With his last bit of energy, Ole reaches up to grab a bit of that pie.  Just then, Lena glances over, sees him reaching for the pie and grabs a broom and starts beating him over the head with it.

“You leave that pie alone,” she shouts.  “That’s for the funeral.”

So…….what jokes were part of your family gatherings?  Take a moment today to remember a few and let some laughter brighten your day.

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