Stuart’s known for humor

Sam Stuart provides a welcoming smile to those coming to workout at Snap Fitness in Helena. (Contributed)

By LAURA BROOKHART / Community Columnist

Sam Stuart might be the love child of Erma Bombeck and Groucho Marx. Her expressive sense of humor, which she says came from her mother, manifests throughout her day — an infectious aura that she has spread over her family for years like a comforting quilt.

At Snap Fitness in Helena, owned by her husband Wayne and son Adam, she welcomes everyone with a smile and a thumb to the latest humorous saying she has posted to brighten the day.

Stuart also keeps at hand one of her kaleidoscopes.

“I just love the way the world changes when you look at it through a kaleidoscope,” she enthuses.

Wayne and Stuart raised five boys — Al, Greg, Andy and twins Adam and Robert — in Meridian, Miss.
“Robert and Adam were our ‘oops’ babies back in 1978. We were planning a home birth, before it was determined at 8.5 months that I was carrying twins. Robert was actually born dead and revived, and they didn’t really expect me to live either. We were told if Robert lived he would be a vegetable, but he did live and he had such a delightful sense of humor,” Stuart said.

Stuart and her son, Greg, agree that Robert always understood more of his world than he let on. At home, Robert was the controller of the TV. He let his likes and dislikes be known. He loved to watch Tom Hanks in Turner & Hooch. He hated the Three Stooges.

“For someone who didn’t speak, Robert was very vocal,” Greg remembers.

“Dad would carry Robert from room to room. ‘Robert,’ he would say, ‘this is the kitchen. This is not your room. No scratching, no licking, no leaving droppings on the floor.’” They would perform this ritual room to room while Robert laughed and laughed.

Every Friday night, Greg remembers, the boys would sneak, as a pack, into the kitchen refrigerator and holding the light button off, the better to be stealthy, drink up the fresh gallon of chocolate milk their dad had laid in for Saturday morning’s breakfast.

“Back then, there was still home delivery for milk. We bought so much milk our Borden’s home delivery guy was able to retire two years early,” Sam said.

“But in all seriousness,” she continued, “Robert taught my children so much. He taught them about the underdog. From Robert we all learned that most of the things we think are problems in life are merely inconveniences. My boys had to learn that life is not fair. No one gets all the good; life gives us both good and bad and humor gets you through the tough times.”
Laura Brookhart can be reached by e-mail at labro16@yahoo.com.