Laughter Is The Best Medicine

It happened when I was admiring the selection at the free sample counter at theJellyBellyCenterin Pleasant Prairie,Wis.There was a family of four standing next to me — a dad, a mom, a son and a daughter.

I really hadn’t paid any attention to them until the dad, in obvious discomfort, started to gag and moan.

Curious, I looked over at him and heard his wife say, “Why would you do that?” half in question and half in disbelief.

“What did you think it was going to taste like?” she asked him, a smirk forming on her face.

Meanwhile, the little old lady working the sample counter stuck her Jelly Belly scoop into a fruity-flavored bean bin and offered the victim an alternative to the taste of bile in his mouth.

Yes, this dad — perhaps trying to impress his children — dared to try the Vomit bean from the Harry Potter Jelly Belly collection.

Needless to say, the bean was pretty much right on in flavor.

Really, how does Jelly Belly expect to make any money on a jelly bean that tastes like vomit?

Well, I have an idea … albeit a bit too late to have fun with.

Wouldn’t it have been hilarious to buy a package of the Harry Potter Jelly Belly beans — containing the flavors of grass, rotten eggs, dirt, earwax, earthworms, soap, sausage, boogers and black pepper — and put them in a candy dish in the newsroom? They would have to be mixed with the good-tasting Jelly Belly beans just to add to the suspense.

Copy editor Joe and I shared a good laugh just thinking about the myriad of reactions that could crop up from oh, say a taste of rotten eggs. I’m not sure I would ever trust a candy dish filled with Jelly Bellies again.

If you ever get in the neighborhood of southeastern Wisconsin, a trip to the JellyBellyCenteris well worth it (check them out at They offer free tours aboard the Jelly Belly Express Train, which we embarked on during a stop there in 2003. This time, we stopped for the Belly Flops — the malformed, perfectly-flavored Jelly Belly beans offered at steep discounts. Mom bought packages for all of the grandkids, while I saved my money for the needlework shop stops later in our vacation.

While I had a good laugh at theJellyBellyCenter, I also got the giggles in the middle of the “Lincoln’s Eyes” show in the Union Theater during our visit to the Lincoln Presidential Museum inSpringfield,Ill.

Abraham Lincoln's Tomb

The museum is well worth the admission price if you are ever in theSpringfieldarea. It’s life-like figures of Abraham Lincoln, Civil War soldiers and slave traders are incredibly detailed, and the museum’s Holavision Theater is one of only three in theUnited States, I was told.

The Holavision Theater boasts a wonderful presentation of Ghosts of the Library, but the Union Theater, equipped with mechanics under the theater seats, will have you rocking and shaking to the sounds of Civil War battle.

The film certainly isn’t one to incite laughter, however there were several rows of middle school students seated behind us.

At the point in the film where John Wilkes Booth burst in on Abraham Lincoln in Ford’s Theater and fired his fatal shot, the boom ricocheted through the theater and our rocking seats shook in response.

The theater was quiet … well, except for this one boy who must have been seated fairly close behind me.

“I think I need to go home and change my pants,” I heard him say.

I tried really, really hard not to laugh out loud … I mean, the president had just been shot. So, there I sat with my hand over my mouth, trying my best to zone back in on the story of our 16th president.

Anyway, the entire museum is fascinating, and there are several otherLincolnexhibits throughoutSpringfield, includingLincoln’s tomb in the local cemetery.