Laurel and Hardy, the slapstick comedians, extend back several generations in our family.

My dad saw them in the movies, I watched them on television, my son viewed them on video and today my grandson, Jack, watched them on YouTube.

"Grandpa, could we watch some movies on YouTube?" Jack asked.

"Sure. What would you like to see?" I asked.

"My teacher told me those old films with people operating jalopies are funny," Jack responded. "Their names are Lawrence and Hardy."

"Do you mean Laurel and Hardy?" I asked.

"Yes, that's them," he answered.

I typed in Laurel and Hardy, and one of their old movies called 'County Hospital' popped up. Jack curled up next to me and tugged the hair on my forearm. He does that when he is relaxed and comfortable.

The scene opens with Oliver Hardy in the hospital with a broken leg. The traction was something to behold with pulleys and cables suspended from the ceiling, like a giant erector set. An enormous plaster cast stretched from his hip to his ankle, allowing scarce wiggle room for his toes.

Stan Laurel paid his pal a visit. Within a minute of entering Hardy's hospital room, Stan knocked over a jug of water into the bed, and Ollie hit him on the head with a bedpan.

The doctor, Dr. Gilbert, entered to examine Ollie and spoke to Stan, "And I hope I find you well."

"Yes, ma'am," Stan answers.

The doctor coughed as he hunched down to look at Ollie's leg. Stan dropped the traction, striking the doctor on the head with Ollie's huge cast. Angered, the doctor rushed toward Stan and grabbed a weight out of Stan's hands. As he did, the doctor fell out the window many stories above a busy city street. As the doctor roared out the window, the pulley lifted Ollie straight up out of bed with his cast pulled to the ceiling.

Ollie is howling now.

So is Jack.

After the movie ended, I read Jack a story I had found. It was about Oliver 'Babe' Hardy's birthday and how a friend introduced him to guests at his party.

"For years, we sat in the movie theaters and squealed with laughter as this well-intentioned man suffered horribly at the hands of wives, sweethearts, police officers, criminals, landlords, and jealous suitors; but these people combined didn't wound him nearly as deeply as did his constant companion." Stan Laurel tormented Oliver, frustrated him, and inflicted physical havoc upon him at every turn in the road. And yet, you always knew that when the last reel had flickered out, 'Babe' and Stan would still be together.

How many times have we heard 'Babe' introduce Stan by saying, "This is my friend, Mr. Laurel?" But if we think back for a moment, no one ever introduced 'Babe.' So, let's remedy that situation.

Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce our good friend, -- Mr. Oliver 'Babe' Hardy.

"That's a happy story, Grandpa. Do you know anymore?" Jack asked.

"Sure," I replied. "This story is indirectly about the Haley family and Laurel and Hardy."

"The Haley family is originally from County Cork, Ireland, near the City of Cobh," I began. "In 1953, Laurel and Hardy visited Cobh, where they were performing live shows. Sadly, for the esteemed comedians, changing tastes had caused their popularity to wane."

When the good people of Cobh heard they were coming, the town pulsated with anticipation of their arrival.

According to Laurel, "The love and affection we found that day at Cobh was simply unbelievable. There were hundreds of boats blowing whistles and mobs of people screaming on the docks. And then something happened that I can never forget. All the church bells in Cobh began ringing out our theme song, 'Dance of the Cuckoos.' 'Babe' looked at me and we both cried."

Just then, I spilled my bowl of popcorn on the floor. "Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into," Jack said, flicking his imaginary tie.

His quick-witted remark had caught me off guard.

In a couple of years, Jack will be a teenager, and his visits to grandpa won't come as often. I knew I was experiencing a special moment between grandson and grandpa.

I didn't want the evening to end.

"May I tell you something, Grandpa?" Jack asked.

I said, "Sure."

"Dad told me he had inherited your sense of humor, and that I inherited his. We are all funny," Jack said.

I smiled.

Shakespeare said, "When a father gives to his son, both laugh; When a son gives to his father, both cry."

It was a special night, indeed.

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