Pages of Life — Goofer making good medicine

I ran across this picture of Bill Atterberry (also known as "Goofer"), his wife Sonya, and my husband and I, and I thought I would write a few words about him.

No, Bill Atterberry isn't a medical doctor. But he has been making good medicine most of his life. Have you ever laughed until your sides hurt? Really, it's good for you.

They say that laughter cures many ills, and that a good laugh actually lowers your blood pressure. Therefore, I know, "Dr Bill," (just kidding) has been doling out good medicine for many years.

KJV -Proverbs 17:22 tells us a merry heart doeth good like medicine. Laughter is a gift from God, but sometimes we need someone like Bill to dispense it. Our youngest son Eric has that gift as well. He can bring a smile even in bad times with his natural humor.

I believe most anyone in Missouri, or anyone who has visited our Missouri state, will remember Goofer and have a story to tell about meeting him.

Goofer was a main attraction at Lee Maces Ozark Opry for close to 40 years and was part of the heritage that drew people to the area. If people came to our area on vacation unaware, someone was bound to advise them that they need to "go to the Lake of the Ozarks and go to Ozark Opry and see our "Goofer" before you go home."

Many years ago, my husband David and I were guests on a show at Cannon Dam Opry, and so was Goofer. I couldn't help but be impressed how lovingly he treated his wife. He is just a down to earth nice person.

Although Bill has made so many laugh, sometimes his good sense of humor got him in trouble. In one of those times, he told a story about his grandpa, who was as they call it, a hard-shelled Baptist preacher. He was very strict and was a strong influence on his life. Every Sunday he preached at the little country churches around Shelbina, Mo.

Bill recalled one Sunday Bill and his brother got tickled during his sermon. His Grandfather stopped, and then asked us to come up, he related. He had us sit in chairs on each side of him facing the congregation. Bill said it seemed everyone in the congregation was staring right at him. He learned his lesson and didn't do it again.

I can relate to that. I've told the story about how our youngest son Eric, and how he and I almost got in trouble once. It was a big church meeting. The Evangelist spoke for 4 hours! (I know many who will be reading this will know who I am talking about) The Evangelist told a joke, and everyone laughed. Then everyone stopped laughing... except for two people, Eric and me. We were in the middle of a row and couldn't get out. I struggled so hard not to laugh, and tears were coming out. Every time I got almost in control, I felt Eric shaking laughing. My husband David, who is a minister, was giving us, "the look."

Several years ago, I wrote a newspaper full page about "Goofer. There are so many good stories of accomplishments and awards he has received that I wish I could tell you, but for lack of space I'll close now.

We've lost contact with Bill now, but as far as I know, he is still out there, making good medicine by bringing joy to others and helping them forget their troubles, at least for a while. Thanks, Bill, for the good medicine of laughter, and the good memories you have shared with so many.

  photo  Dorothy Kleindienst