She told me about the time she and her college roommate put a layer of clear saran wrap over the top of the toilet before retiring to bed. She was anxious to “surprise” the other roommates during their next sleepy late-night visit to the restroom. She told me about the time she dipped fuzzy cotton-balls into softened sweet, dark chocolate, cooled them and then replaced the real chocolates for the cotton-ball chocolates in a wonderfully decorated Sees candy box. I will never forget the individually wrapped salt water taffy that she so carefully laced with Ex-lax and gave me to take to middle school as an April Fools joke on my fellow seventh graders! I trusted a school friend with my secret, but he told another friend, who “ratted” on me to the principal. I found myself in the principal’s office and was severely chastened, then expelled from school for 2 days! I felt really guilty about being expelled, but Mom thought it was hilarious and we went to the movies the next day.
Mom has slowed down, slightly, but not one of her friends know that her hair is really gray. She retired from her stressful 8-5 day-job and she doesn’t play so many April Fools jokes on her friends these days. I decided it was past time that Mom get a taste of her own April Fools fun. Mom did not like dogs, and this was widely known because Mom and Dad argued over the dinner table, with sometimes heated vocabulary, about getting a dog. Dad said “I am getting a dog.” He said that Mom would just have to accept the idea. She revolted, and stubbornly informed him that “not on my life are we going to have a dog in this house.” She insisted that they were gone too much to take care of a dog. She was not going to take care of “his” dog, because they had tried to have a puppy once before, and it ended in a disaster. She still remembered the dreadful two-week event many years ago with a little blonde Cocker Spaniel that cried all night long in the laundry room, chewed the door and never would use the newspapers to go pee. “No way, No dog.” I even tried to talk with her, to change her mind, or convince her that a dog would be so much company, but she was firmly planted in her idea. I could not change her mind, and Dad knew that it was hopeless.
I made my plans and ironed out details for weeks ahead making sure this April Fools joke was the best. I went to my friend and ask him if I could borrow his Henry, a large older Golden Retriever. Henry was a sweet dog, with a mild manner. I picked up Henry after work, and hauled him off in the back of my car. I made an appointment for Henry at the Doggie Spa, and we scrubbed him clean, spritzed him with a nice fragrance, tied a huge red scarf about his neck, and headed off for Mom’s house to administer my payback for her birthday. She was waiting for me to show up for a dinner date, or so she thought.
I heard Mom yelling, “I’ll be right there” as I rang the door bell. Henry and I stood posed at the door, waiting for Mom to let us in. Mom unlatched the door, and opened it.
“Hi Shawn, come in”. She looked at Henry, and then at me again with such a puzzled inquiring look. Before she could say anything I quickly handed her the leash attached to Henry, and said “Happy Birthday Mom.” She pulled back, and said “No. No. You are not serious.” I assured her that I was indeed serious, that the dog’s name was Henry, and that he was an older dog I had bought for her birthday. I told her that Henry was going to fit into her home very well, and he would protect, as well as be a friend to her. I handed her the leash and insisted that she take Henry. As expected, Henry was excited, licking her hand, smelling her personal space and making inventory of the room with his quivering nose. I kept my calm, showing her how to handle Henry, how to hold the leash, and suggested that she take him outside for a "potty" break before he wet on her almost new carpet.
Mom reluctantly took Henry outside, still insisting that she didn’t want a dog for her birthday. As she stood in the front of the house, I could see large tears trickling down her crimson cheeks. I was totally unprepared for this reaction. She was seriously crying! I could hardly keep from laughing out loud. I was certainly feeling more than a little guilty for the joke I was playing, but it was working so well.
I couldn’t let her cry very long, and my guilt got the best of me. I went outside and took Henry. With a sheepish grin I told her “April Fools”. I don’t think she even heard me. I told her again, “Don’t cry, Mom, this is just an April Fools joke.” She was so convinced that I had purchased a dog for her. I think it must have taken me three times explaining the joke, and that she had just been “had” before she finally realized I wasn't serious. She told me that I had played the best joke ever, and even though the joke was on her, the family would long remember how she got paid back for the all the April Fools jokes she had played on them and others. She warned me, however, that "pay back would eventually come. Not next year." She reminded me, " I needed to be aware that as long as she was alive, vengeance would be sweet."