In my childhood home, there were four holidays worth celebrating: Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and April Fools’ Day. We looked forward to Christmas, Easter, and Halloween for obvious reasons. Presents and candy. Yippee!
But, oh, April Fools’ Day. That was the most anticipated day of the year. A day of houghmagandie. The objective was to survive April 1st without falling for a trick or a prank. In an isolated house with two mischievous parents and six intelligent imps, this wasn’t easy. We began preparing about the third week of March, often pilfering needed supplies from closets and sheds that had to be secreted in our rooms until The Big Day.
One year, we learned about strength in numbers. We united against our parents and strung fishing line from an upstairs bedroom to their room downstairs. The plan was to haul on the line in the middle of the night (just when they felt sure they’d survived the day!) and rattle something under their bed. This required several days’ labor. Do you know how hard it is to tuck fishing line into carpets without being seen?
My brothers often took things up a notch, like the year they laid down a minefield of potholder looms Santa brought us, then raised a ruckus so Mom would storm upstairs in her bare feet and nightgown. “April Fools! Oh, hey, somebody get the gauze.”
Once, I managed to fool Mom from the basement. “Mom! The freezer died. There’s blood and water all over the floor!” (If you knew how hard that woman worked to freeze and can wild game and homegrown fruit and vegetables, you would understand why she nearly died on the spot.)
Now, before you feel too sorry for the woman who bore me, you should know she dished it out like a champ. She once put bricks and Limburger cheese in my brothers’ pillows. In case you don’t know, bricks hurt, and Limburger cheese smells like ass. Like, for days.
In the Losch household, if you made it through April Fools’ Day without falling for something, you were George Freakin’ Washington. At 12:01 a.m., on April 2nd, you could prance around with your head high and chest puffed out like a Banty rooster in a house of hens. It rarely happened.
This year, I fell by 11:30 a.m. There I was, potting up some seedlings in the kitchen, when Doherty yelled from the living room, “Did you see the Pope is coming to Harrisburg?”
“You’re kidding me. Why?”