Editorial: April Fool's always fun

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Reading Peggy Johnson's column last week about April Fool's got me to thinking about April Fool's past.

Before I go there, one of my favorite "hoax" stories wasn't even intended as a hoax. On October 31, 1938, Orson Welles performed a live radio broadcast of H.G. Wells' famous War of the Worlds. Residents in the tri-cities/New Jersey area believed the broadcast and mass panicked.

Just like a bunch a'yankees to believe the Martians are invading!

April Fool's is always fun around the Mann homes. Though I've never asked, it must be extra special to my Dad. For more years than I care to admit, when I was a kid, Dad would come running into my bedroom and holler for me to look at the snow. He did this to my sister also, and since this is my column and not hers, I'll say that she was by far the most gullible.

Now when you're a kid (and some adults fall into this group), snow is one of the coolest things God created. The right amount of snow would get you out of school, but a big snow would let you get outside and allow you to do all that fun snow stuff like sledding, building snowmen and having snowball wars.

So when Dad would run in and say go look at the snow, I was excited. I'd hop immediately out of bed and run to the window, only to be greeted with the dreadful "April Fool's" words right about the time I opened the curtains. Of course, I would always be immediately agitated and hop back in bed--because it was invariably always early. Dad is (was) an early riser and I've always been a night owl.

But, you know what they say about payback, right?

I was around eleven, not sure my exact age, but it doesn't matter. At this time, Dad was working the second shift at work; I'd wave to him from the school bus--I was coming home as he was leaving to go to work.

That particular April Fool's morning Dad was still in bed. I ran in and told him the calves were out. We had a small farm just south of Memphis and Dad kept a few cows to help keep the pasture down and for beef. We also had a pony. For some reason that I can't remember now, the cows frequently got out.

Dad dutifully and sleepily got up and got dressed. I waited in anticipation near the back door. He walked out the back door with me hot on his heels. After five or six steps, I hollered out the famous words "April Fool's!"

Without saying a word, Dad turned around, walked past me back into the house and went right back to bed.

I returned to the house to find Mom standing in the kitchen with a big grin on her face. I remember that I told her that I thought Dad was mad. She laughed and said he'd get over it.

I don't think I ever told Dad it was Mom's idea in the first place.

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