A couple of April fools

I was pretty young when I first learned about this fabulous date called April Fools’ Day. My dad was always a big joker and loved to pull pranks on my mother. After a while, I noticed how the worst ones were always on the first day of April. He explained the concept behind April Fools Day and I was enthralled!

I was probably a first grader when that devilish day rolled around and I was determined to come up with a doozy for my inaugural stunt. Of course, the target would have to be my father, because he was an April Fools Day expert.

When we got home from school, Mom announced she had to run to town. She was going to leave me at home, to clean and start supper. As she left, I was a bit apprehensive, because I had intended to run my scheme past her first. Unfortunately, I had to determine, on my own, whether it was safe to proceed. In my April Fools excitement, I decided to move forward.

I picked up the phone and called over to the dairy barn. Dad picked up right away. I heard myself tell him someone had just stopped by the house, saying the cattle were out at the South Place. I said they were on the road and in the ditches. His initial silence told me the plot was working.

“What?” he suddenly exclaimed, which was followed by a flood of words I can’t repeat. “I’ve got to get milking!”

I started to tell him I was just April Fooling but he hung up before I could.

I stood there, receiver in hand, mouth hanging open, panic hitting.

I called back. There was only ringing. I called back again. More ringing.

And just when I felt the nervous diarrhea begin to set in, his pickup flew past the house, as he hurried to survey a problem that didn’t exist.

I saw he had cows in the holding pen already. That meant he had all the machines running and cows ready to go.

You have to remember there were no cell phones back then. I had no way of calling him back to his time-sensitive task.

I was literally sick. It got later and later. Surely, he’d noticed by now the cattle were fine! Then it occurred to me my super-anal father would not be able to leave those cattle until he counted every head and drove around every inch of that fence.

I could see the milk cows shifting around, as they anxiously awaited the opportunity to let their milk down. My big fib was turning into one big problem.

Then I heard the pickup coming from the south. It was moving just as fast as before, but I cringed when I heard the squeaking of brakes. Sweating, I watched his long legs come up the sidewalk.

He opened the door and just looked at me.

“Who stopped by here and said the cattle were out?” he asked, very serious.

I had to confess it was all a hoax, it was supposed an April Fools’ Joke. The admission was greeted with ranting and raving, some swearing and a whole bunch of “Don’t you ever, ever do anything like this again!”

He threatened I would be getting a spanking, “when he had time.”

He slammed the door and streaked off to his waiting cows.

I had cost him about an hour of precious time which, in my mind, had created irreversible damage to our four-legged meal tickets. Plus, with all my stewing and fretting, followed by crying and worrying about the pending spanking, I had failed to thaw out the hamburger for supper and not a piece of laundry had been folded.

So much for my glorious break-out performance for April Fools Day!

Mom had already stopped at the milk barn before she came home, so she was fully informed. I sobbed, saying I just wanted to fool Dad, but I did it wrong and it all blew up in my face.

She quietly advised me to more wisely pick my battles and leave April Fools Day to the adults.

We had peanut butter for supper and the white clothes were all wrinkled. Punishment was I would have to iron all the laundry — that was the least of my worries as I waited for that spankin’ I’d been promised.

Dad arrived home later than usual because of the April Fools delay. He stared at the dried-up sandwich I’d made him.

“Sorry, I was so busy trying to call you back that I forgot to thaw out the meat for supper,” I whispered. “So we have to eat peanut butter.”

I stared at my bare feet on the yellow and green linoleum floor. I couldn’t bear to look up, so I intently studied the 1970s diamond pattern.

“I hope you learned your lesson,” he said sternly. “Don’t ever lie to me again. I mean it.”

I promised I wouldn’t.

“But I also learned a lesson, too,” he said. “Maybe I shouldn’t pull those pranks on your mom anymore. I guess I didn’t realize you were watching and maybe you misunderstood that sometimes pranks can go wrong.”

“Are the cows ruined?” I quietly asked with tears in my eyes.

“No, they were a little crabby and so was I, but everything is fine,” he said, giving me a little hug.

I took the chance of looking at him and was thankfully met with a bit of a smile.

“I guess we’re just a couple of April Fools,” he chuckled.

The spanking was canceled and I promised no more April Fools Day jokes.

“I probably shouldn’t either,” he said. “It can really ruin the day.”

I went to bed, snuggled under the covers and closed my eyes, while Dad put more jelly on his sandwich. Thank goodness April Fools’ Day was over.

But then, I heard a scream come from my mother.

“Mel, I’m going to kill you!” she yelled at my father. “Really, in my underwear drawer?”

“It’s just a fake mouse!” he called back from the table. “Happy April Fools Day, honey!”

“Yeah,” she chuckled. “Happy April Fools Day.”

I guess it’s hard to stop being an April Fool.

Thanks for reading this article.
JMWNews.com content is free and never behind a paywall.
We believe in trustworthy, local journalism that is accessible to everyone.