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Langford mom and son inspire smiles by regularly writing jokes on front gate

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Jacob Herrington is in the midst of a mirthful mission that began when he was five years old.

"He’s a jokester through and through," Amy Grundy says, after recalling her son arriving home from preschool with his first joke.

"What did the one muffin say to the other muffin in the oven? Nothing. Muffins don’t talk," Amy says, smiling fondly after the punchline. "And then [Jacob] slapped his knee and cackled and cackled."

And after Amy stopped laughing along with her son, her heart started swelling with gratitude.

"It’s definitely medicine," she says.

Humour is the medicine that Amy says made her challenging childhood in foster care more manageable.

"I do everything for my kids," Amy says of her three children. "Because I never want them to have memories of nothing."

Which is why Amy crafted a jungle above one of the kid’s beds featuring faux vines hanging from the ceiling, a little stage for them to perform on in the living room (with a red carpet leading up to it), and a showcase for Jacob’s comedy on the front gate, which she painted with black chalkboard paint to write on.

The first joke she wrote on it was the muffin one.

"I think it’s funny," Amy says. "And it gives my son some confidence."

"When I was younger, I didn’t like being the center of attention," Jacob adds.

But now 13-year-old Jacob discovered he did like constructing his own jokes and deconstructing others.

"I usually think on it during quiet time at school," Jacob says.

And every couple of days, he cycles home with a different joke to tell his family.

"If you wait too long for the waiter," Jacob asks. "Does that make you the waiter?"

That was one of the recent jokes that Amy wrote on the gate for the public to appreciate.

"It brings a lot of joy to my day," neighbour Mud Fisher smiles.

He’s one of many folks in the neighbourhood who regularly visit the joke gate in search of a chuckle.

"What do you call a pig that does karate?" Mud smiles, recalling a recent joke gate offering that inspired a laugh. "And the punchline was, 'A pork chop.'"

Whether the jokes are out of this world – "What did the claustrophobic astronaut say? I need space" – or question computer companies, "If Apple made a car would it have Windows?", whether the jokes are his own or others, Jacob’s goal remains the same.

"If you’re having a bad day, and I tell them a joke and I make them laugh, then they’re happy for the rest of the day," Jacob says. "And that makes me feel good."

Which ultimately makes Amy feel even better.

"I just want them to have happiness," Amy says. "And really epic memories."

She also wants all three of her kids to know that the message that’s written on the other side of their front gate, that can’t be erased, is no joke.

"It says, 'I love you to the moon and back, forever, plus one day,'" Amy smiles. "They are everything." 

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