Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Some holidays arrive and I don't realize the significance until something happens to remind me that it is a special day. Today was one such day. I had just returned home from helping my oldest son teach a cooking class for a group of Relief Society sisters and I jaunted out to pick up the mail. Included in that postal treasure pile was the weekly edition of a local newspaper entitled, "The News-Examiner." As I brought it into the house, I was stunned by the following headline: "COUNTY DECLARES BANKRUPTCY!" I was floored. I knew the local economy was struggling, but to read that our county courthouse was going to be sold on an auction block was staggering.
I read the entire article to my son and we gaped at each other, alarmed by what we were learning. Then I read the following paragraph:
"A county employee was in tears as she talked about her $750,000.00 mortgage, child support, car payments, and the Caribbean cruise she had just signed up for."
Wait a minute . . . who in the grand metropolis of Bear Lake lives in a $750,000.00 home?! Unless you count the celebrities who have extremely fancy cabins above Bear Lake---and I don't believe for one second that they work at the county courthouse. I wondered if the reporter had his\her facts straight.
I glanced through the rest of the paper and saw the following article: "Sorry, They Were Hoaxes." It was all a sham . . . our newspaper's way of playing an April Fool's joke on the entire community. And I sponged for it. (This is a secret.) My son enjoyed a good laugh at my expense, since I had been waxing eloquently about how awful it was that this had happened to our county.
As I read through the tongue-in-cheek apology, I learned that there had been two misleading stories, the one about the county's fictional financial woes, and another about a pack of 50 wild wolves that had supposedly devoured an entire herd of sheep on the other side of the valley. I didn't see it until after I read the "hoax" article.
The reporter who obviously enjoyed pulling these two pranks said in his\her defense:
"It was bad judgment to say the least, and great fun at the most . . . For those of you who spotted the hoax right away, we hope you enjoyed the fun. For those who fell for the hoax, we apologize."
Uh, huh. Sigh . . . Actually, it was pretty funny and rather gutsy of this newspaper to run these articles. I can just imagine the letters to the editor that will show up next week. ;)
I like April Fool's Day. I've even been guilty of pulling a few pranks through the years. I'll never top what my father did one year. Long story short: There was a beautiful Gunnie Sax dress in a store that used to exist here in Bear Lake. My dad had been living in the area for a couple of months, waiting for me to graduate from high school . . . and for our house to sell in Ashton. He had secured employment as the hospital pharmacist for Bear Lake Memorial, and our entire family was moving to Montpelier. While looking things over in Bear Lake, my mother and I entered a dress shop and found this gorgeous dress. The top was cream-colored with gauzy lace, and the skirt was a perfect match. I tried it on and fell in love. But it was a little pricey, so we left it there.
When my father found out how much I liked that Gunnie Sax dress, he said he would buy it for me and bring it up so I could wear it for graduation. I remember being so excited, I could hardly wait. Then the big day finally came and my dad arrived in Ashton with a beautifully wrapped box. He handed it to me with a big grin on his face.
"Is this the Gunnie Sax dress?" I asked, excitement filling my bosom.
"Yes, it is," my dad replied, encouraging me to hurry and open the package.
I did, and I know my jaw hit the floor. Inside the fancy box were a couple of gunny sacks (coarse material used to house grain). My entire family erupted with laughter and then the zinger line was shared: "APRIL FOOLS!!!"
Yeah . . . it was a joke. I must have looked so crestfallen, my dad didn't have the heart to prolong my agony. He was still grinning when he handed me the box that contained the dress I had longed for. My family has laughed over that memory for years. It was possibly the best prank ever played in our family.
This leads me to my question of the day: what is the best April Fool's prank you've experienced, or created?
P.S. I'll be sure to leave today's newspaper where my husband can see it upon his return home from work today. I may even have the video camera running to record his reaction. =D Could be interesting.