• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Friday, April 1, 2011


I have fond memories of April 1.
It was always a day of good, silly fun.

I quickly learned to never believe or trust anything heard or said on the first day of April - my four older brothers  were the hard school masters.  But it was all in good natured and simple fun. Gags that could hurt someone physically or emotional were always in bad taste and made the one doing such mean things look like more of a fool than the one being tricked - isn't that still the case?

Pranks and silliness ruled April 1.

Margarine back then was white, not colored, and came in 1 pound blocks almost identical in appearance to a 1 pound block of lard.  If you wanted margarine to resemble butter in color you had to knead a small packet of coloring (that came in the package with most brands) into it - my mom couldn't be bothered - that was just a waste of time.  One of the pranks almost guaranteed to show up on April Fool's day was the substitution of lard for margarine - a fairly harmless and very amusing trick. Imagine spreading your bread/toast with lard and taking a bite - YYYYUUUUCCCKKKKK! been there done that.

Salt and sugar were often exchanged by filling the sugar dish with salt or the salt shaker with sugar. My mother did not approve of putting salt in the sugar bowl - it wasted too much food.  She spent a good part of each April 1st checking on possible food substitutions to make sure waste did not occur but invariably some sneak would get one by. She was good natured about it especially when the one being tricked might have been getting away with some tricks.

All day long someone was always telling you such things as 'your shoe is untied' or 'did you hear that soandso was hurt/died/got married/' etc. April 1 was not a good day to set appointments or to have accidents - no one would believe it was 'for real' if you did. I mean if I invited you to dinner to day would you come? and if you did would you eat anything without suspicion? - I could be putting anything in there for a gag couldn't I?

One of the best April Fool's pranks I fell for was a garage sale.  As I drove across town big signs with arrows announced a garage sale.  I followed them. The day was a beautiful spring Saturday and I was so excited to go to my first garage sale of the year.  I pulled up to the address - there on the front lawn was a huge bright sign that read "APRIL FOOLS".  I still chuckle about that and tell everyone that will listen.  Maybe someone else can play that one - it is a terrific example of a harmless joke.

So have a nice day - and be nice too.